Do you remember that pesky contact that always sends you annoying texts on Whatsapp even after you’ve blocked them? Yes, the one using the “GB” version of Whatsapp? Well, let’s just say your worries are about to be over as Whatsapp has threatened to permanently ban users who have an account with the clone app.

Police hitting a skydancer: Illustration for the article, Time’s up for “GB Whatsapp” clone users as Whatsapp threatens block
Image: Zikoko Memes

GB WhatsApp is an altered version of WhatsApp created by a third party. It combines regular WhatsApp features with modded and customised ones that are not offered by the original WhatsApp app. Some of these features include the ability to;

  • Hide your ‘online’ status
  • Remove the double tick (“message delivered/received”) option
  • Retrieve deleted photos that were sent to you
  • Retrieve other users’ deleted status
  • Download status updates
  • Send up to 90 images at a go, amongst others.

Although these sound like fun, they come at a high price — two high prices, if we’re keeping it a buck. 

The first is a potential and very permanent ban from the Whatsapp app. In an update on their website, Whatsapp warns GB Whatsapp and Whatsapp Plus users that it might block them from the Whatsapp app if they don’t switch from the unsupported versions to the official app.

They also warn that these unofficial apps, though WhatsApp lookalikes, do not follow WhatsApp’s security measures, and may pose a potential privacy risk for its users, hence the ban.

“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,” WhatsApp said.

That brings us to the second risk. These clone apps are highly modded by unverified independent sources and are not even available on Google Play or the Apple App Store. You’d have to find iffy, probably unsecure, back-alley ways to download them. 

And since they don’t follow WhatsApp’s security guidelines, your data is fresh meat. Anyone can listen and view your messages from the other end, and your device can become spyware central at any moment.

Are a few flashy features really worth all the trouble? You tell me.

Meanwhile, you can find detailed instructions on transferring your data from GB WhatsApp to the official app here.

Chidinma Egwuogu | Author

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox