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Do 3 Ticks Mean Govt Read Your Message? Old Hoax Goes Viral Again

A false message about the government monitoring social media communication is being widely shared on WhatsApp.

Updated
WebQoof
3 min read
A text message claiming that the government is monitoring all social media messages is going viral again.
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A viral message on WhatsApp claims that all communication on social media – including those on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – will be monitored by the government. It specifies that these “new communication rules for WhatsApp and WhatsApp calls (voice and video calls) will be implemented from tomorrow (sic)”.

The message proceeds to warn users against posting anything against the prime minister or the government as it would put them at the risk of getting arrested without a warrant. It also describes the introduction of a new system of colour-coded tick marks on messages that would show that the government had “taken note of your message” and action can be taken against the sender.

We found that this message has no truth to it and variations of this message have been on the internet since at least 2017.

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CLAIM

Screenshots of the viral claim as circulated on WhatsApp can be seen here.

Do 3 Ticks Mean Govt Read Your Message? Old Hoax Goes Viral Again
(Source: WhatsApp/Altered by The Quint)
Do 3 Ticks Mean Govt Read Your Message? Old Hoax Goes Viral Again
(Source: WhatsApp/Altered by The Quint)

The claim was seen on Facebook and Twitter as well.

Do 3 Ticks Mean Govt Read Your Message? Old Hoax Goes Viral Again

(Image: Twitter/Screenshot)

WHAT WE FOUND

As per WhatsApp’s privacy policy, all calls and messages on the platform use end-to-end encryption, meaning that only the users present in a chat or a group can view and access shared messages.

Do 3 Ticks Mean Govt Read Your Message? Old Hoax Goes Viral Again

(Image:Whatsapp/Screenshot)

WhatsApp elaborates on its end-to-end encryption feature developed with Open Whisper Systems on its website too, guiding users to an in-depth explanation of the same.

Do 3 Ticks Mean Govt Read Your Message? Old Hoax Goes Viral Again

(Image: WhatsApp/Screenshot)

COLOUR-CODED TICK MARKS

As per WhatsApp's website, the platform only uses three kinds of check marks – single grey tick, which means that your message has been sent; double grey tick, which means the message has been delivered to the recipient’s phone; and double blue tick, meaning the message has been read.

There is no new tick or rule implemented by WhatsApp in this regard.

Do 3 Ticks Mean Govt Read Your Message? Old Hoax Goes Viral Again

(Image: WhatsApp/Screenshot)

In its March 2021 update, WhatsApp’s iPhone application started allowing its iOS users to disable ‘read reciepts’ of voice notes as well.

The Quint had previously debunked two variations of this claim in 2018 and 2019, explaining how different parts of this claim were factually inaccurate.

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WHAT IS GOING ON WITH WHATSAPP?

According to The Information Technology Intermediary (Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, social media organisations are required to trace and identify the origin or the first sender of a message on their platforms. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, along with the Ministry of Infromation and Broadcasting set up these new guidelines for social media platforms, setting 25 May as the last date for compliance.

On 25 May, WhatsApp sued the Government of India stating that complying with these new rules would violate its privacy and security policies, while also affecting Indian citizens' fundamental Right To Privacy.

Clearly, this text has been on the internet for a few years and is reshared every now and then, with slight variations.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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