WhatsApp dropped its annual subscription fee at the start of 2016, after its owner Facebook prepared to pivot the messaging service to an ad-funded business model.
Facebook itself has always been free to use and always will be. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said so much himself.
When a similar hoax started circulating last year, Jovi Umawing, a malware expert from MalwareBytes, advised users to ignore the message and delete it. But that hoax was more serious as it was tied to a phishing exercise.
Some WhatsApp users found themselves locked out of the service this week after functionality for older smartphones was removed.
Affected handsets include those running Android 2.1 or 2.2 or iOS 6, as well as iPhone 3GS devices and Windows Phone 7s.
“These platforms don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,” WhatsApp said in a blog.
The firm recommends customers upgrade to newer phones if they want to continue using the service.