A NEW WhatsApp hoax message sweeping the UK falsely claims to reveal when the nation's lockdown measures will be lifted.
The text, which purports to share leaked information from the government, alerts recipients of an alleged "five-stage" exist strategy ending in August.
It's designed to resemble official government advice, and indicates that lockdown will be lifted on August 10.
However, the text appears to be a mirror of Ireland's exit strategy, which was revealed earlier this week.
According to the fake plans spread on WhatsApp, Brits will be allowed to "meet up to four friends from other households" from May 18.
Some shops and outdoor sports facilities will also allegedly open this month.
Libraries will apparently open their doors next month, followed in July bymuseums, galleries and some public spaces.
The majority of the remaining lockdown restrictions will lift on August 10, the message claims.
It reads: “This stage will see the lifting of almost all restrictions. However, ‘large social gatherings’ such as large weddings will continue to be restricted due to risk.”
WhatsApp has more than 2billion users and is regularly used to spread hoaxes and scams.
WhatsApp – a quick history
Here's what you need to know…
- WhatsApp was created in 2009 by computer programmers Brian Acton and Jan Koum – former employees of Yahoo
- It's one of the most popular messaging services in the world
- Koum came up with the name WhatsApp because it sounded like "what's up"
- After a number of tweaks the app was released with a messaging component in June 2009, with 250,000 active users
- It was originally free but switched to a paid service to avoid growing too fast. Then in 2016, it became free again for all users
- Facebook bought WhatsApp Inc in February 2014 for $19.3billion (£14.64bn)
- The app is particularly popular because all messages are encrypted during transit, shutting out snoopers
- As of January 2018, WhatsApp has over 2billion users globally
Recipients are often encouraged to forward messages to their contacts in order to get the word out on whatever phoney premise the message contains.
WhatsApp recently restricted the number of people users can forward a message to in a bid to halt the spread of misinformation.
The firm said: "Even if a message is shared many times, this doesn’t make it true. Don't forward a message because the sender is urging you to do so."
WhatsApp has previously urged its users to report repeat offenders.
“If you see something that's fake, tell the person that sent it to you and ask them to verify information before they share it," the compamy said.
"If a group or a contact is constantly sending fake news, report them."
In other news, a bizarre WhatsApp hoax attempted to fool users last month with a message about a mysterious "dance of the pope".
Your internet may be getting slower due to a recent surge in web traffic.
And, Apple recently revealed how to clean your iPhone without breaking it.
Have you spotted any WhatsApp scams? Let us know in the comments…
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