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You may want to think twice about posting your mobile number to Twitter, even if it’s to “WhatsApp Africa”.
A tweet posted on Monday by “@whatsapp_Africa” dupes users into tweeting their mobile numbers in exchange for free data.
“We are giving away free what’s app data for the whole of September,” reads the tweet verbatim. “Follow and retweet. Comment with your WhatsApp number.”
Notably, the tweet was also labeled as “promoted” by Twitter.
At the time of writing, the post has more than 110 replies with many including mobile numbers. Some users however had questions, and even more doubts that the account was a legitimate entity.
“Who the heck is WhatsApp Africa?” asked one user.
Who the heck is WhatsApp Africa? pic.twitter.com/OJJhDMTkPb
— IamFranco (@Zuks_Franco) August 27, 2018
“Oh look, a free scam. Terrible attention to detail as well…Can’t even proofread their own name for a promoted post,” wrote another.
Oh look, a free scam. Terrible attention to detail as well…Can’t even proofread their own name for a promoted post.
Also btw, WhatsApp doesn’t supply data, your networks do. These guys are in no way able or bothered to give you free WhatsApp usage.
— Cat Swart (@Jexx) August 27, 2018
So who is ‘WhatsApp Africa’?
The account itself isn’t verified, but it does feature a link to WhatsApp’s official website. Those with an untrained eye would find it easy to affiliate the account with WhatsApp itself.
It also does extremely well to play on the common tweet format that mobile networks use when giving away free data on their respective channels (even if the proofreader was seemingly on lunch when the tweet was sent).
@whatsapp_Africa isn’t a new account either. Twitter notes that the account was created in December 2016, and has tweeted more than 200 times.
Digging through its previous tweets, it often reposts memes, tweets from local influencers, and Jaden Smith-like inspirational quotes.
“Worry is a thief. If you allow it, worry will rob you of your destiny. Do yourself a favor; put God back on the throne,” reads one of said quotes.
“When you stand in the water at the beach, you are technically at the bottom of the ocean,” is another gem.
More recent tweets penned focus more on WhatsApp itself, however even these are also slightly sketchy.
“The new WhatsApp update will give people the chance to stay online without data, through the method of promotional codes,” a tweet also published on Monday read.
WhatsApp has never hinted at or officially announced such an update.
WhatsApp and Twitter
Notably, WhatsApp does have an official Twitter presence, but it’s merely a placeholder at present. The company has published just three tweets since April 2014, with the most recent coming in 2016.
https://t.co/zgUQdghCUs – how E2E encryption works.
— WhatsApp Inc. (@WhatsApp) August 24, 2016
The issue highlights Twitter’s issues, allowing bogus accounts to promote accounts pretending to be official representatives. Additionally, it’s also a showcase of just how easy it is to dupe people into handing over personal data.
We’ve reached out to Facebook South Africa for comment.
Feature image: screenshot, @whatsapp_Africa via Twitter