Do three blue check marks on WhatsApp mean that messages are read by governments?

CLAIM: Three blue check marks on WhatsApp mean that messages are read by governments.

FALSE

In the posts, shared on WhatsApp and sent to Teyit, three blue check marks appearing on WhatsApp messages were claimed to mean that messages are read by government officials.

Text shared on WhatsApp:

“Dear friends,

There is a warning by WhatsApp above. In short: When you send a message, a check mark appears next to the message. This means the message is sent. When it turns to the two marks, it means the message is received. When these marks get blue, it means the message is read. This is a normal process. If check marks become three blue marks, it means this message is read by a government official and if one of the blue marks gets red, the message will be examined. Please be careful about your messages and share this with your friends.”

WhatsApp explains what read receipts means in detail. One check mark means that the message is sent, two check marks mean that the message is delivered to the recipient. And two blue check marks mean that the recipient reads the message. Read recipient and blue check mark can be deactivated. However, there is not any explanation about the three check marks.

WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption for open services by default. End-to-end encryption means that the messages are encrypted to protect them from being read by WhatsApp and third parties. This prevents messages, photos, videos, voice messages, documents and calls from being captured by others. End-to-end encryption cannot be deactivated.

Besides, each message has a unique lock and password. These are all created automatically. In other words, governments cannot access messages. No need to open a setting or create private chats to secure private conversations.

Account and message records can only be shared with the police force and senior administrations, depending on the laws of countries. For example, valid summons regard to an official criminal investigation is required to share users’ messages in the U.S. According to Article 22 of the Constitution in Turkey, everyone has the freedom of communication and privacy of the communication is essential. Unless there is a written order of the authority authorized by law; communication cannot be prevented, and its privacy cannot be violated. In other words, as in the case of the USA, the decision and order of the competent authorities are required to share the WhatsApp account and message records of the users with the administrations.

The claim is not new. Similar claims were made in India in 2019 and it was proved to be false.

There has been another claim regarding WhatsApp recently. According to the claim, the government started to examine WhatsApp groups. The way to take measures is to delete existing groups and recreate them. Teyit proved it was false.

In conclusion, the claim is not true. There are not three check marks on WhatsApp and the messages cannot be seen by third parties. The post in question is an example of a fabricated content.

Sources

WhatsApp, Read receipt

WhatsApp, WhatsApp Security

WhatsApp, Information about Police Force

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Anayasası, 22. Article

The Times of India, FAKE ALERT: Message claiming the government can read WhatsApp chats untrue, 24 August 2019

The Free Press Journal, Fact Check: Do three red ticks on WhatsApp mean the government is initiating action against you?, 26 October 2019

Want to support facts? You can donate to our cause at: https://destek.teyit.org

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Translation: Hilal Ebru Yakar

Sources

WhatsApp, Read receipt

WhatsApp, WhatsApp Security

WhatsApp, Information about Police Force

Türkiye Cumhuriyeti Anayasası, 22. Article

The Times of India, FAKE ALERT: Message claiming the government can read WhatsApp chats untrue, 24 August 2019

The Free Press Journal, Fact Check: Do three red ticks on WhatsApp mean the government is initiating action against you?, 26 October 2019

Want to support facts? You can donate to our cause at: https://destek.teyit.org

Follow us on Twitter: 

https://twitter.com/teyit_en

Translation: Hilal Ebru Yakar