WhatsApp starts banning users using WhatsApp Plus

21 Jan 2015

Android WhatsApp users using WhatsApp Plus have been finding themselves locked out for 24 hours as the Facebook-owned company clamps down on piggy-back services.

WhatsApp has established itself as the most powerful instant messaging company in the world following its acquisition by social network Facebook for as much as US$19bn last year. Now it’s starting to stamp its own authority by knocking out WhatsApp Plus, a popular app that has developed a strong online community of as many as 700,000 users.

The service created by a developer named Rafalense with the help of Mounib Al Rifai – a dentist from the United Arab Emirates – has been offering users the same service as WhatsApp, with the addition of a whole host of customisable features relating to design, message receipts and even emoticons, but those using it have been left with a message telling them that they’ve been locked out for 24 hours.

‘Fun ride’ comes to an end

Writing on his Google+ page, Al Rifai said the final blow came when its small team received a cease-and-desist letter from WhatsApp.

“Am really sorry for this but it’s out of our hands and WhatsApp has pushed us into a corner that we can’t escape this time. It was a fun ride but it has come to an end,” said Al Rifai.

In its own statement clarifying its reason for shutting down the service, WhatsApp said it could not trust a piece of source code contained within WhatsApp Plus.

“The developers of WhatsApp Plus have no relationship to WhatsApp, and we do not support WhatsApp Plus,” said the statement.

“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.”

Users of WhatsApp Plus have since gone to microblogging site Twitter to express their sadness at the closure of the service.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic