Users of the Android version of WhatsApp have encountered a troubling issue wherein the app crashes upon receiving a specific message. Security researcher PandyaMayur (@pandyaMayur11) highlighted on Twitter that sending the message http://w.me/settings triggers the crash. This vulnerability affects WhatsApp users on Android running version 220.127.116.11 of the app.
When the message is received, opening the chat containing it causes WhatsApp to repeatedly crash. To mitigate this issue, users are advised to avoid accessing the malicious chat after restarting the app. Interestingly, the message http://w.me/settings is typically used to access app settings, but only the Android version of WhatsApp is currently susceptible to this bug.
If a user receives the message, apart from avoiding the specific chat, the alternative solution is to delete it using WhatsApp on a desktop or laptop computer. After removing the message from the computer, the user can resume the chat on their Android phone. The responsibility to address this bug lies with Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp. Meta, previously known as Facebook, acquired WhatsApp in a transaction valued at $21 billion in October 2014. It is plausible that Meta has already taken steps to address the issue, as some users report that version 18.104.22.168 of the Android app does not experience any problems with the mentioned message.
WhatsApp, with 2 billion monthly active users worldwide, remains the most popular messaging app globally. WeChat follows closely with 1.2 billion monthly active users, while WhatsApp's sibling, Facebook Messenger, has 988 million monthly active users, according to the latest available data.