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WhatsApp will soon allow cross-platform messaging in separate tab

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WhatsApp is one of the most lauded messaging apps out there. And it plans to better its service as it complies with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). As part of a new arrangement, WhatsApp will likely introduce cross-platform usability which may allow users to send messages to other third-party apps like iMessage, Telegram, Google Messages, Signal, etc. But, the feature’s success depends on the willingness of other companies to participate. Not to mention the concerns about privacy and encryption.

WhatsApp cross-platform messaging with privacy & security

WhatsApp interoperability mainly focuses on exchanging text messages, images, voice, videos, or files between users on WhatsApp and those on other messaging platforms. This shift is a response to DMA regulations that consider Meta a “digital gatekeeper.” EU now requires WhatsApp to follow the rules promoting fair competition in digital markets. The DMA came into effect last year and gatekeepers were given until March 2024 to comply. The deadline is almost over.

Privacy and security are high on the company’s priority list. Information sourced from The Verge confirms that WhatsApp will only accept Signal encryption protocol for cross-platform messaging. But, they are open to alternative encryption protocols as long as they meet WhatsApp’s security standards. Companies wanting to integrate with WhatsApp will have to sign a contract with Meta, outlining the terms of the agreement.

In an interview with Wired, WhatsApp Engineering Director ‘Dick Brouwer’ acknowledged how tense it will be to offer compatibility with third parties while preserving the platform’s privacy, security, and integrity standards. But Brouwer seemed confident about his plan of action, stating, “I think we’re pretty happy with where we’ve landed.”

Implementation and global availability

We are yet to hear about the specifics of how third-party messaging will integrate with WhatsApp. Meta’s compliance with the DMA might initially take effect in Europe but eventually, it will happen in other regions. A credible publication points out that WhatsApp users can expect a new “Third-party chats” section in their inboxes soon. This will be where messages from other platforms will be grouped. The firm will provide more information about its interoperability plans in the coming month, with a phased rollout to follow after.

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