ISIS Misusing Profile Pictures, WhatsApp CEO Warns: Fact Check


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ISIS Misusing Profile Pictures, WhatsApp CEO Warns

Story:

Delhi Commissioner Issued Notice to WhatsApp users Saying ISIS Misusing Profile Pictures and that WhatsApp CEO requested them to remove their personal photos for the next 20-25 days.

Other Versions

1. IMPORTANT NOTICE

Hi Friends

If you have put your own pic in ur display picture, then please remove it immediately. Because ISIS is trying to capture it and they have hackers who will use ur number in a wrong way. Those people are going to misuse your photo. Whatsapp CEO has requested all people to remove personal pics for the next 20-25 days. Whatsapp engineers are trying their best to keep ur app safe. Please co-operate. Please forward to your near and dear ones.

2. *_IMPORTANT NOTICE_*

*Hi Friends*

*Jis kisiki bhi whatsapp pe profile pic khud ki ho to jald-se-jald badal do. Kyuki whatsapp pe ISIS apne Aatanki gatividhiyon ke liye or kuch aise hackers aaye hai jnke paas aapka whatsapp no hai. Wo log us profile photo ka galat use kar rahe hai. Whatsapp ke CEO ne request ki hai ki agle 20-25 din tk khud ki profile photo na rkhe. Whatsapp ke engineers aapko safe ke liye aapke saath co-operate karenge. Is msg ko aage forward karo, khas krke ladkiyon ke liye.*

_____________
Thank You.
_____________
A.K. Mittal (IPS)
9849436632
*_Commissioner Delhi._*

*Pls forward to all your frnds ones too..

3. Hi,
Jis kisiki bhi mom ya sister whatsapp pe profile pic khud ki ho to jald-se-jald badal do. Kyuki whatsapp pe kuch hackers aaye hai jnke paas aapka whatsapp no hai. Wo log us profile photo ka galat use krke aapki ashleel photo banate hai. Whatsapp ke CEO ne request ki hai ki agle 20-25 din tk khud ki profile photo na rkhe. Whatsapp ke engineers aapko safe ke liye aapke saath co-operate karenge. Is msg ko aage forward karo, khas krke ladkiyon ke liye.

Fact Check:

Various messages in circulation on WhatsApp and other social media sites warn WhatsApp users about ISIS misusing profile pictures. According to them, ISIS is stealing WhatsApp profile pictures and misusing them for terrorist activities. One version even went on to say ISIS are morphing stolen pictures of women with obscene images. The message appears as a notice from Delhi Commissioner A.K. Mittal (IPS) and also mentions WhatsApp CEO requesting users to remove their profile picture for the next 20-25 days. Allegedly, WhatsApp engineers are working around to safeguard their profile pictures. No, the claims about ISIS misusing profile pictures of WhatsApp users are not facts and is explained below.

ISIS Misusing Profile Pictures from WhatsApp?

Firstly, we checked, there are no credible reports about ISIS misusing profile pictures stolen from WhatsApp. If they really need pictures of people for terror activities, there are many image search engines available online. Secondly, we have checked, like signed in the notice, there’s no IPS officer called AK Mittal who worked as Delhi Police Commissioner. There’s an IPS officer Alok Mittal who has been the Inspector General of National Investigation Agency, but he did not issue any such notice about ISIS misusing profile pictures stolen from WhatsApp. And there’s no such notification from WhatsApp CEO or Delhi Commissioner for that matter. Moreover, the phone number 9849436632 is listed on True Caller with the name Arshad Ali in Andhra Pradesh and thousands of users reported it as spam.

Screenshot of the phone number 9849436632 on True Caller
Screenshot of the phone number 9849436632 on True Caller

As reported earlier on Indian Express website indianexpress.com, the fake messages have been doing rounds on WhatsApp since at least 2016. They appeared in various versions and languages and went viral back then. It is one of those typical fake messages on WhatsApp which circulate through forwards and spread unnecessary worry among users. However, if you are concerned, WhatsApp already provides the privacy feature to restrict your profile photograph view to your friends or just yourself.

Hoax or Fact:

Hoax.


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Prashanth Damarla
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