WhatsApp to Launch 'Third Party Chats' in Compliance with Forthcoming EU DMA Regulations

  • Mary Brown
  • Feb-09-2024
  • 278
WhatsApp to Launch 'Third Party Chats' in Compliance with Forthcoming EU DMA Regulations

WhatsApp, the globally popular messaging platform that champions end-to-end encryption (E2EE) and is owned by Meta, is gearing up to enhance its services. The application is set to add compatibility for cross-platform messaging, paving the way for users on varied messaging systems to interact with WhatsApp users. Meta has stated that such functionality will be optional, helping secure users from unsolicited messages from various platforms. This initiative comes as a measure to adjust to the imminent implementation of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the EU ahead of the March 6 deadline.

Simultaneously, WhatsApp users can expect to see a "Third Party Chats" field featured prominently in their chat lists once the conversational interoperability is activated. Dick Brouwer, WhatsApp Engineering Director, has confirmed that this addition will organize messages received from external platforms differently from traditional WhatsApp messages under E2EE protection. Users will also be able to share various attachments through these chats.

Brouwer also shared that for other platforms to interact with WhatsApp users, they would need to encrypt messages utilizing the open-source Signal Protocol. Further, they would then connect with the Meta-owned proprietary chat platform to facilitate the sending and receiving of messages. He noted that WhatsApp is in the process of documenting its client-server protocol, which would allow alternate chat services to link their clients directly with WhatsApp servers.

The catch, however, is that if rival platforms are unwilling to adopt the recommended process, they must prove that their encryption protocols align with the rigorous security standards of WhatsApp or use a less secure proxy setup. The report also notes that standard SMS messages and functionalities, such as calling and group conversations across multiple platforms, will not be supported this year.

As the deadline for DMA regulation implementation looms, it's clear that support for the third-party chat function will soon be introduced on WhatsApp. The practical timeline for rollout, however, is yet to be confirmed by the company. Nevertheless, enthusiasts and European users could look forward to further updates in the coming weeks.

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