Billions of WhatsApp users around the world could be blocked from the messaging platform for downloading an unofficial version of the app.
The planet’s most popular messaging system warned that anyone who installed a “GB WhatsApp” Android application would face a ban.
Benefits on the “GB WhatsApp” platform include auto-replies to messages, being able to hide read receipts whilst still being able to see other people’s, and a number of other features, the Daily Express reports.
But it is not officially affiliated with WhatsApp and the platform threated anyone who opts to use the lookalike with a ban.
The programme is made to be similar enough in name to the original app, so smartphone users assume it’s made by the real parent company.
"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," the company said.
"If you don't switch to the official app after being temporarily banned, your account might be permanently banned from using WhatsApp."
The small-print to the social platform has also been updated, with the messaging giant making it clear that copycat apps are not allowed under its terms of service.
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"Unsupported apps, such as WhatsApp Plus, GB WhatsApp, or apps that claim to move your WhatsApp chats between phones, are altered versions of WhatsApp," it said in a comment to The Sun.
"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."
“GB WhatsApp” went viral on social media at the end of last month as smartphone users flocked to take advantage of the benefits.
Unofficial apps are removed from the Google Play Store, and Android users who have been installing the programme have done so from unofficial app repositories online.
To install the app, users must also disable safeguards provided by default by Android.
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