WhatsApp users have been hit by temporary bans and warned that their entire chat history could be deleted.
The messaging app has published a blog which warns that fake versions of its software are doing the rounds.
Anyone who uses these knock-off apps could be given the boot.
WhatsApp urged everyone who thinks the software they’re using is not genuine to back up their chat history because it could end up being lost when they transfer back to the official app.
‘If you received an in-app message stating your account is ‘temporarily banned” this means that you’re likely using an unsupported version of WhatsApp instead of the official WhatsApp app,’ WhatsApp wrote.
‘If this is the case, you must download the official app to continue using WhatsApp.’
The offending software includes apps like GB WhatsApp and Whatsapp Plus, which can be downloaded from Google Play and installed on Android phones.
‘Unsupported apps, such as WhatsApp Plus and GB WhatsApp, are altered versions of WhatsApp,’ the messaging app added.
‘These unofficial apps are developed by third parties and violate our Terms of Service. WhatsApp doesn’t support these third-party apps because we can’t validate their security practices.’
To work out what app you’re using, press ‘more options’ followed by ‘settings’, ‘help’ then ‘app info’.
If you’re using WhatsApp Plus, your chat history is probably safe and should back up automatically.
But if you’re on GB WhatsApp, you need to follow these instructions, which we’ve taken from the app’s online FAQS.
- ‘Wait for your temporary ban to end. The timer will show you the length of the ban.
- ‘In GB WhatsApp, tap More options > Chats > Back up chats.
- ‘Go to Phone Settings > tap Storage > Files.
- ‘Find the folder GB WhatsApp and tap and hold to select it.
- ‘In the upper right corner tap More > Rename and rename the folder to “WhatsApp”.
- ‘Navigate to the Play Store and download the official WhatsApp app. If you can’t access the Play Store, download the app here.
- ‘In WhatsApp, verify your phone number. Learn how to verify in this article.
- ‘On the Backup found screen, tap Restore > Next.
- ‘WhatsApp should load with your existing chats.’
Modified versions of WhatsApp offer several unofficial upgrades. GB WhatsApp, for instance, lets users ‘do almost anything to your Whatsapp chats, including setting up auto-replies for when you don’t want to check your phone or creating a full log of connection times and log-off times for any of your WhatsApp contacts’.