The Facebook-owned messaging app is used by millions of users around the world and while it has become an integral part of our everyday lives, it is misused by many to spread false information, hate messages and has even been used by organised crime organisations and extremists to incite violence.
While WhatsApp claims to be a messaging platform with end-to-end encryption, not many people are aware that the company collects metadata about every user, which it has the rights to share with law enforcement authorities when demanded. Although the messages are encrypted, authorities can retrieve information like your name, IP address, mobile number, location, mobile network, and your phone model.
In addition, law enforcement will also have access to your contacts list and your WhatsApp conversations, in addition to information about whom you've been chatting with, for how long and at what time. While there are no separate laws for WhatsApp users in any country, you need to avoid doing these things if you want to prevent a run-in with the law:
- WhatsApp Group admins can be arrested for sharing provocative videos or circulating obscene and pornographic content on the group.
- Promoting and indulging in any kind of flesh trade or prostitution racket on WhatsApp.
- Sharing doctored videos and morphed images of important personalities like politicians can get you in trouble, so think twice before sending memes or jokes on WhatsApp.
- Sexually harassing or sending lewd messages, obscene content to women on the messaging platform.
- Running a WhatsApp account using someone else's name or impersonating someone on the app can also be punishable by law in some countries.
- Sending hate messages related to any religion or place of worship or hurting religious sentiments via WhatsApp is also illegal.
- Spreading false information or fake news on sensitive topics to incite violence or rioting via WhatsApp is also prohibited in countries like India and Singapore.
- Promoting or selling illegal contraband and narcotic substances on the social platform will land you in jail.
- Using WhatsApp to send hidden camera sex clips or video clips of people filmed illegally or any kind of voyeurism can get you arrested.
- Sharing porn clips, especially child porn, images or obscene material on WhatsApp will also get you arrested.