+91-8876752400 Thursday - Feb 21, 2019


Banashree C. Chakraborty

So, how many of us are on Whatsapp these days? I can surely imagine the raised hands as you are reading this, it’s well over lakhs and millions. This super handy app to send and receive messages without a penny paid is a good riddance from the monthly SMS pack recharge, and is a dynamic platform to share messages of all kinds, text as well as multimedia ones. But, do you stop to think for once what are you actually sharing as information? Because if you see after all, the messages you share especially the viral ones are information by the end of the day.

Whatsapp Messenger is an instant messaging app designed under the subscription business model, meant specifically for a Smartphone. It is a cross platform app which uses the internet to share images, texts, audio-video clips, voice calling and also has integrated mapping featured which enables the users to share locations as per preference. Founded in 2009 by Brian Acton and Jan Koum, it is in the process of takeover after Facebook announced its acquisition of Whatsapp Inc. on February 19, 2014, for US$19 billion. With more than 70 million users in India alone, it has a total of 700+ million users worldwide.

The reach of a single message sent virally is much faster and wider through the Whatsapp platform. Now the question is, do we care about the authenticity of these messages or level of sensitivity of the message and it’s affect on the receiver’s mind? The answer is,‘NO’. We no longer check the authenticity or care about the intensity of a simple viral message before forwarding it to a group or individual in our contact list.

Often we come across messages like, www.stuffbox4u.com .Forward this sms in 20 Whatsapp mobile company promoting their website.Get Rs.487.56 talk time free. It’s true. Check your balance after 30min”, or something like, “Whatsapp is going to cost us money soon. The only way that it will stay free is if you are a frequent user i.e. you have at least 10 people you are chatting with. To become a frequent user send this message to 10 people who receive it (2 ticks) and your Whatsapp logoshould turn Red to indicate a frequent user”, which are plain hoaxes created by anonymous sources and compel users to immediately spread it around their circles.

Apart from these types of fake messages, sensitive images like that of a mentally challenged person with a funny quote pasted on it or some inappropriate images quickly do the rounds, without giving a chance for the users to think twice before forwarding it, leads to another reality check which raises another question, is it truly necessary for us to propagate this.

The sole purpose of instant messaging is to provide a free platform for users without any restrictions or boundaries of geography or demography, loses its essence once when such malpractices spreads its wings. And then as an after effect, the blame falls on the Internet for overexposure of unwanted contexts.

“I really got irritated with all the viral messages, it really disturbed me when I was at work or in a meeting, and I finally just uninstalled Whatsapp. I mean that was the height of my frustration with the app”, says Mona who works as an HR. Apart from that, many hoax messages carry the users to websites which may release viruses to attack the system data of your phone or computer. 

Remember irritating messages, images or videos are not just making you frustrated but also eating up those precious MBs or GBs of the internet pack. Such hoaxes and fake messages spread and exist because we believe in them without actually doing a background check. The only way to keep your hands off is to generate awareness which is the first step to restrict yourself from becoming the victim or a means to spread the hoax. Nevertheless, forwarding puns or jokes for a good laugh is always welcome, as laughter is the best medicine for a good health.

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