WhatsApp will allow third-party chats

A recent discovery in the latest WhatsApp app code reveals a new feature related to third-party chats, indicating the app's efforts to comply with European regulations regarding messaging interoperability.

shutterstock 2326763767 Large

What exactly is messaging interoperability all about? If you’re a tech startup looking to launch a new messaging app, you could create the most outstanding app imaginable, but it might struggle to gain traction because everyone you know uses WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or iMessage. People tend to stick with the apps their friends and family use. This is the issue the European Union seeks to address with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This law is specifically targeted at tech giants considered dominant in their respective fields, requiring them to facilitate competition for startups.

In the case of messaging apps, these giants are mandated to provide “messaging interoperability.” This means that, for instance, a WhatsApp user should be able to exchange messages with a Facebook Messenger user. Companies affected by this law have six months to implement the required changes.

WhatsApp appears to be actively preparing to comply with these regulations, as evidenced by code found in its latest version. This code suggests the introduction of messaging interoperability through a feature referred to as “Third-Party Chats.” Although this section is still in development and not accessible to users, its title confirms WhatsApp’s commitment to working on this feature. Importantly, it’s understood that end-to-end encryption will be maintained even when exchanging messages between competing apps, which is a significant technical challenge.

Interestingly, Apple is currently resisting the notion that iMessage should be subject to the same antitrust laws, arguing that it doesn’t have a sufficient number of European users to warrant such regulation—an argument that might sound unlikely. If found not to be complying, Apple will probably be fined by the EU in the next months.

More from Qonversations



Is Apple ‘monopolising’ the smartphone market?


2024 01 24T000205Z 1176313067 RC2VR0AD7JU5 RTRMADP 3 BRITAIN CYBER AI

Who are the people urging the world to stop AI and climate “catastrophe”?


2024 01 30T082224Z 418236526 RC2ZVZ9I9FG3 RTRMADP 3 PAKISTAN POLITICS KHAN

Imran Khan’s jail speech shows AI’s peril


2024 02 12T032837Z 1210727327 RC2RY5AVZ54J RTRMADP 3 TIKTOK BIDEN

Biden launches official TikTok account