The messaging service WhatsApp is starting a ban on some users for a 24 hour period because they were sending and receiving messages via an unofficial client, which wasn’t made by WhatsApp. Many of the users that were affected were using Whatsapp+. This is one of the most popular third-party clients for Android phones for the WhatsApp messenger service. It has also been reported by Android Police that users who were using another alternative, WhatsappMD, were also facing a ban.
BGR India pointed out last weekend that several Indian tech-focused websites erroneously made the reports that WhatsApp+ was going to be the new WhatsApp app? This incorrect information was given out perhaps because it has support for themes and emoji, which can be seen by many as an improvement to the standard client.
WhatsApp explained via its FAQ page, why it banned certain Whatsapp+ users and it’s not because it feels threatened by another app:
WhatsApp Plus is an application that was not developed by WhatsApp, nor is it authorized by WhatsApp. The developers of WhatsApp Plus have no relationship to WhatsApp, and we do not support WhatsApp Plus. 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.
There is another reason why the app may want to control the clients that its users can access. It is to make upgrades and updates a whole lot easier to deploy. Take for instance, WhatsApp recently added an encryption system to the Android app. By having a plethora of amateur-level, unofficial clients around may make the development process a lot more complicated. It is understood that WhatsApp is going to be launching a browser-based version of their client soon, and this would lessen any cross-platform issues that may be happening.
WhatsApp has never invited other developers to produce any third-party clients and the official API will not allow it. There are however, numerous unofficial APIs, which exist for developers to produce a WhatsApp client, but WhatsApp has tried to eliminate those as well. Last year WhatsApp used DCMA takedowns to erase unofficial APIs from GitHub.
If you are affected by this issue, the fix for is simple: delete non-approved WhatsApp apps and install the official app.
[Image via my.genieo.com]