A viral message asking users to forward a message to retain the account status is a hoax. WhatsApp warned its users against such unauthorized senders.
WhatsApp clarified that these messages are a hoax and warned its users against such unauthorized senders. WhatsApp said, "Unwanted messages from unauthorized third parties come in many forms, such as spam, hoax, and phishing messages. All these types of messages are broadly defined as unsolicited messages from unauthorized third parties that try to deceive people and prompt them to act in a certain way. The company is working diligently to reduce any spam messages that come through their system, and to create a safe space for users to communicate with one another is their priority."
These fake messages have been circulated over the years and people do end up forwarding them. For which WhatsApp asked its users to "block the sender, disregard the message and delete it."