There have been many reports on the web this week that indicate WhatsApp is tightening its policy towards use of third-party client applications. That word is that those people using an official app to access the service will be banned for life. However, WhatsApp says that’s not the case – they claim there has been no change in policy since the Facebook-owned company first started to crackdown on third-party app usage earlier in the year.
WhatsApp bans some users
In January, WhatsApp started to ban some users that were accessing the popular chat service via a third-party (i.e. unofficial) mobile app. To be allowed back into WhatsApp, users were asked to remove the said app from their phone and download the official version instead. That was also explained in the company’s policy via an FAQ on their website.
At that time, one app maker even received a cease-and-desist letter from WhatsApp related to his service. The reason for the crackdown, according to the company, was in relation to security and privacy – as it can’t guarantee those apps are safe as WhatsApp does not have any control over their source code.
The confusion now related to WhatsApp’s third-party app policy comes from a Google+ post from WhatsApp+’s developer in which he said that there is a ‘permanent account disable’ policy. That post was noticed by a German blog and then made the rounds as other sites repeated the story, becoming rather fuzzy in the whole process.
The terminology ‘lifetime ban’ makes it sound like users are banned from WhatsApp forever, but apparently that’s not the case. The policy stands: if users continue to use WhatsApp+ (or another third-party app), they will not be able to use WhatsApp anymore, as the company explained.
The only difference might be that before the company showed a 24-hour temporary ban with a timer to those users, but now it seems users simply can’t use WhatsApp’s services at all until the third-party apps are removed.
“If a user doesn’t uninstall WhatsApp+ then they will continue to be banned until they stop using it. But there is no permanent ban”, a WhatsApp spokesperson says.