The message stating users to not open a video that infects their devices with a virus is fake news.
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WhatsApp is one of the most popular online messaging apps and an old fake message is again being circulated on the platform. As per a report by the Standard, the hoax message tricks users into downloading an enhanced, secret version of WhatsApp, called WhatsApp Gold. There is also a reference to ‘Marteinelli,’ which doesn’t really make any sense except that the word was used in the fake message back in 2017 and it is present in the new fake message as well. The fake message reads, “Whatsapp Gold. A video will be launched tomorrow in Whatsapp called Martinelli. DO NOT OPEN it. Its a virus which goes into your phone and nothing will fix it. Do not update to Whatsapp Gold the virus is serious.” Do note that there is no such video either and there's another version of this message that reads," If you know anyone using WhatsApp you might pass on this. An IT colleague has advised that a video comes out from WhatsApp called martinelli do not open it, it hacks your phone and nothing will fix it. Spread the word.”
If one receives such a hoax message on WhatsApp, they are advised to ignore and not forward it. Additionally, any update for the messaging app is supposed to be rolled out via the Google Play Store and one is advised to not download any other versions of the app like WhatsApp Gold or WhatsApp Plus since they might be malwares. In order to tackle the spread of fake news on its platform, WhatsApp has implemented a ‘Forwarded’ tag, which is appended to forwarded messages. Additionally, the app limits a user to send messages to only five people at once.
An earlier report suggests that WhatsApp is also testing a new Suspicious Link Detection feature. The option is aimed at helping users detect suspicious sent and received links on the app. The feature works in the following manner: When a user receives a message containing a link, WhatsApp will analyse the link to detect if it may redirect to a fake or alternative website. If this is the case, then the message is identified with a red label and if the user tries to open the link, the app alerts users again that they are trying to open a possible suspicious link.
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