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Beware! Link advertising free data bundles in celebration of ‘WhatsApp anniversary’ is another scam

A link that claims to offer free data to social media users is making rounds on Facebook and WhatsApp groups in Kenya.

It claims that this data is given for free in celebration of a WhatsApp anniversary.

The link includes this text: “Check this out. Free 50gb (all networks) valid for 90 days in celebration of WhatsApp anniversary. I have received mine. Open this link: https://whatsapp.freedata.buzz.” The link no longer works, but it is still being shared. Similar content as the broken link has been shared on this link.

It has been shared in two groups with a joint membership of more than 97,000 users.  

But is the link and its promise genuine?

WhatsApp_Scam

Engagement bait scam

On the website, users are asked to follow a step-by-step process to apply for the free data. But it is suspicious from the beginning.

For instance, despite issuing some questions to applicants that require a “yes” or “no” answer, one is allowed to proceed regardless of their choice. At the end, all receive a message that their answers have been considered and that they have won a 50 gigabyte data bundle.

But it carries conditions. Users are asked to share to five groups or 20 friends via WhatsApp to receive the data. And only if they do as instructed will they receive the data.

Africa Check has looked into similar links a number of times. It is an example of engagement bait – posts that ask people to like, share, or comment in order to increase the post’s reach but offers no reward. Facebook is aware of the tactic and is taking active steps to fight it.

To protect yourself against online scams, read our guide to Facebook scams and how to spot them.

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”. What should you do? First, don't delete!

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

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