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WhatsApp to ban users on unofficial apps: Here’s how to switch to the official app

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The source of all things WhatsApp Beta, WABetaInfo, has pointed out that WhatsApp could soon begin banning users who use unofficial third-party apps to access the messaging service.

In a tweet with a link to the official WhatsApp FAQs page, the source claimed that WhatsApp has now updated their FAQs to help users with Banned Accounts, to migrate their data from unsupported apps to the official app.

Image: Reuters

Tech2 connected with WhatsApp about the ban and got the following response from a spokesperson:

“WhatsApp cares deeply about the safety of our users. To protect the privacy and security of their account, we strongly recommend users only download WhatsApp from official app stores or from our website. We are continuing to step up our enforcement against imposter WhatsApp services to help curb abuse and keep WhatsApp users safe.”

They named two of the most used modded WhatsApp apps. I think it’s the first time they name “GB WhatsApp” and “WhatsApp Plus” in their website officially.
I don’t know what’s going to happen but I recommend users that use modded apps for Android to switch to the official WA. https://t.co/5xr97hhCF1

— WABetaInfo (@WABetaInfo) March 7, 2019

A temporary ban

WhatsApp even went to the extent of naming the unofficial apps called WhatsApp Plus and GB WhatsApp, on its FAQs page.

The messaging services’ reasoning behind the same as per the official FAQ’s page is user security.

“Unsupported apps, such as WhatsApp Plus and GB WhatsApp, are altered versions of WhatsApp. 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.”

As per the FAQs page, the ban is not permanent, but temporary. This is done with the intent to force users into using the official WhatsApp app, which according to the messaging service is secure.

The temporary ban will prevent the user from sending across messages for about 24 hours.

What do unofficial WhatsApp apps get you?

User’s of unofficial apps use them to get additional features like themes, more emoticons, chat screen customisations and much more.

The APKs of these apps need to be side-loaded in order to be installed and used on Android devices and these have to be downloaded from unofficial sources.

To make things worse, users of these apps need to update their apps from unofficial sources from time to time, which could put their data and device at the risk of malware because there’s no certain method to verify the source of the uploaded installation files.

As a practice, avoid downloading third-party WhatsApp-related apps.

Instead of putting a permanent ban on a user’s account for violating policies, WhatsApp will place the user on a temporary ban. Once the ban has ended, users of the messaging service can switch to the official WhatsApp app in the following ways.

How to switch data from GB WhatsApp to official WhatsApp

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 > 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.

On the Backup found screen, tap Restore > Next.

WhatsApp should load with your existing chats.

How to switch data from WhatsApp Plus to official WhatsApp

If your chat history was previously saved, it should automatically transfer to the official WhatsApp app.

Navigate to the Play Store and download the WhatsApp app. If you can’t access the Play Store, download the app here.

Verify your phone number.

WhatsApp has been in a bit of a fix as it tries to make its way out of a mess we call fake news.

Recently, it was in a soup after authorities discovered how arsonists used WhatsApp groups to co-ordinate violent protests triggered by the death of 42 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel in the 14 February terror attack.

WhatsApp’s current efforts to limit the spread of fake news includes limiting the number of forwards, training community leaders on the use of the platform and even holding workshops and newspaper ad campaigns.

Unfortunately, all of WhatsApp’s efforts to contain fake news, at the moment, somehow just don’t seem enough.

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