Popular Facebook-owned cross-platform instant messaging tool WhatsApp has recently gotten a suspiciously high number of positive reviews in the Google Play Store. This follows recent updates to the app that many have attributed to similar features offered by Snapchat, as well as the growth of rival apps like Telegram.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with getting a lot of positive reviews, there's something not quite right about these particular ones. Over two thousand entries can be found that refer to WhatsApp as a game, which as you're well aware, it is not.
Some reviewers state that they “think it is very relaxing way to game without money” or “it’s a fun game”. The vast majority of these suspicious reviews have appeared between February and March of 2017, and more importantly, most of these reviews give WhatsApp a five star rating.
What makes this story quite strange is that none of the other top ten apps on the Google Play Store has been invaded with such reviews.
These positive but confusing ratings have coincided with the a sizeable amount of negative feedback WhatsApp has been receiving from users unhappy with the latest changes. The fact that the instant messenger is also potentially insecure does not help matters.
WhatsApp is currently experiencing one of its lowest average ratings, sitting at 3.4 out of 5. However it does still have an overall average of 4.4 based on 54 million reviews.
These various factors have led some to suspect that the developers had paid people to write these favourable reviews. However, in a statement for The Next Web, WhatsApp has declared:
We’re focused on making our service better for our 1.2 billion users around the world. We don’t have time for fake reviews, and we’ve reached out to Google to look into the issue.
It is unclear at this point what really happened, but the sheer amount of unrelated five star reviews certainly gives reason for pause.
Source: The Next Web