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WhatsApp bars unofficial app users over privacy fears

WhatsApp has banned users of an unofficial app from using its service because of fears their data could be leaked to third parties.

WhatsApp Plus lets you access WhatsApp, but also personalise how your conversations look. Despite having the same logo, it’s completely unofficial. Because of the data fears, WhatsApp has stopped users from accessing the service for 24 hours, the BBC reports.

WhatsApp Plus describes itself as “a simple app that lets users customise even more aspects of WhatsApp, one of the most popular instant messaging apps in the world.

“Thanks to WhatsApp Plus, users can select from loads of different colour palettes and backgrounds to decorate their WhatsApp conversations.”

It has reportedly been downloaded more than 35 million times since launching in 2012. That’s very high, though nowhere close to standard WhatsApp, which has 700 million users sending 30 billion messages a day.

Read more: WhatsApp alternatives

Explaining its decision to crack down on the app, a message on the WhatsApp website says it “contains source code which WhatsApp cannot guarantee as safe and that your private information is potentially being passed to third parties without your knowledge or authorisation.”

It looks like the app’s days may be numbered. Dr. Mounib Al Rifai, owner of a WhatsApp Plus development community, posted: “We have received a cease and desist letter from WhatsApp and we are obliged to remove all download links and unfortunately delete this community…

“Am really sorry for this but it’s out of our hands and WhatsApp has pushed us into a corner that we can’t escape this time…

“It was a fun ride but has come to an end.”

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