Nowadays, walking in any town, be it Nairobi, Nakuru or Kimbo town (a small but fast paced town center down in Githurai 45), could easily turn into a mess. The streets are full of people fully or partially bent on their smartphone screens as they try to keep a conversation going. It could be via text, on social media, or through one of the most common IM chat applications in the market. Currently, that would be WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is cheap. All you need is a few MBs, they could be bundles mwitu or legitimate Mbs, no one really cares, and you are good to go. No need to subscribe for on-net SMS bundles or spend Ksh1 for each text. Though loved, people still don’t fancy the powers this application gives to potential stalkers.
Naturally, the WhatsApp application will show your ‘last seen’ status and will notify the other party when you receive and read a message. While this is naturally encouraging since the other party in the conversation will always know what is going on, the shady lot find it too invasive. It denies you the power to say you were offline, or claim that you did not see the message in time. You cannot tell your significant other goodnight at 10pm and continue catching up with you sidekick till late night without drawing attention.
This is what led to the birth of WhatsApp +, a third party version of the application. WhatsApp+ uses native WhatsApp servers and functionality but adds a few features that will help you go into ‘Ghost Mode.’ You can hide all you last seen updates. If you do not want the other party to know when you receive a message, you can hide the double ticks (show that you have received) or the blue ticks (show you have read the message.) This proves to be quite interesting and appealing to the covert.
WhatsApp doesn’t think so. They think that WhatsApp+ is risky, a danger to its current reputation, something that should be wiped off our smartphones completely.
Here is an official statement from WhatsApp
WhatsApp Plus is an application that was not developed by WhatsApp, nor is it authorized by WhatsApp. The developers of WhatsApp Plus have no relationship to WhatsApp, and we do not support WhatsApp Plus. Please be aware that WhatsApp Plus contains source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe and that your private information is potentially being passed to 3rd parties without your knowledge or authorization.
Please uninstall your application and install an authorized version of WhatsApp from our website , Google Play, Windows phone store or Apple App store. Then, you will be able to use WhatsApp.
WhatsApp believes that this third party application might have malicious code that collects and disseminates your information without prior consent. This might be true since many third party applications tend to ride on the success of the first party app for their own gain. After all, the folks developing WhatsApp+ need to make a living in one way or another.
The official WhatsApp voice, as of today, says that they will ban WhatsApp+ users for 24 hours. This is not so bad, a day off chatting will make you walk the streets better after all. Installing the official app from Play Store before a ban will keep you safe. If you are already banned, you will have to wait for your day to expire before you can resume chatting.
I personally used WhatsApp+ a while ago. I found the additional features very useful in one way or another. However, along the way, I grew honest and tired of hiding. With this threat from WhatsApp, I believe I have every reason to stick to the official application. What do you think?