Three red ticks: Message claiming government can read WhatsApp chats is fake

By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Published: April 9, 2020 1:50:05 pm

Viral message claiming government is reading WhatsApp messages is fake news. (Image: PIB)


A viral message has been doing rounds over the messaging app WhatsApp stating that government is taking notice of messages over the platform. As per the claim, three red ticks on a message means that the “government has initiated action against and you’ll receive summons from court”.

The Press Information Bureau (PIB) debunked the viral message on Twitter with its @PIBFactCheck handle, confirming that the information is fake and the government is doing no such thing. PIB is the nodal agency of Government of India that acts as an interface between the government and the media to disseminate information on government plans, policies, initiatives, and achievements.

Also read | WhatsApp forwarded message limit: Is it enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19 rumours?

“#Fake News Alert! Messages circulating on Social Media reading ‘WhatsApp info regarding √ tick marks’ is #FAKE. #PIBFactCheck : No! The Government is doing no such thing. The message is #FAKE. Beware of rumours!,” PIB Fact Check wrote on Twitter.

As per the viral message, WhatsApp has implemented a new tick system that allows users to find out if the messages they are sending are being noticed by the government or if the government can take action against the sender.

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When a user sends a message, one tick means the message has been sent, two ticks mean the message has been delivered, and two blue ticks mean that the message has been read by the receiver. While listing this information, the viral message claims that:

*Three blue ticks mean the government has taken note of your message

*Two blue and one red tick mean the government can take action against the sender

*One blue and two red ticks mean the government is screening the sender’s data

*Three red ticks mean the government has initiated action and the sender will receive summons from the court

WhatsApp has not informed about any such feature and as PIB tweeted, the government is doing nothing of such kind. Also, since WhatsApp is end-to-end encrypted, neither the government nor even WhatsApp can read any messages being sent on the Facebook-owned platform. Hence, the message is nothing but fake news.

WhatsApp has become the breeding ground of misinformation and the application has been making efforts to stop the menace of fake news on its platform. It had reduced the forwarding limit to five chats a time and recently, it reduced the limit of frequently forwarded messages to one chat at a time.

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