Tech Thursday: Watch out for WhatsApp Africa “free-data” scam on Twitter

The WhatsApp Africa account appeared on Twitter as a promoted tweet on 27 August that read: “We are giving away free what’s app data for the whole of September, Follow and retweet. Comment with your WhatsApp number.”

The tweet received 182 retweets, 218 likes, and 137 replies at the time of writing this article. Some users even replied with their mobile numbers believing the scam to be true. Others questioned the legitimacy of the account, which is not verified by Twitter and is not linked to WhatsApp’s official website.

The account dupes users with a familiar logo and format of a giveaway, which is common for cellphone networks to do but WhatsApp does not control people’s data, cellphone networks do.

Another red flag is their previous posts, which are mostly memes and reposts from celebrities and influencers. Their recent tweet was a retweet from South African hip-hop star AKA. Here are some other retweets from them:

WhatsApp has an official verified account but has not posted anything since 2016. The fake WhatsApp account also posted: “The new WhatsApp update will give people the chance to stay online without data, through the method of promotional codes.”

This is obviously also a scam because WhatsApp has not announced any updates of this kind.

Users are warned to be aware of these types of accounts on Twitter and must always look out for a verification sign (a blue tick next to the account name) to see if an account is official.


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