Whats App is considering enabling cross-platform messaging, allowing users to engage in chats with individuals on different platforms.

Technology


Reportedly, WhatsApp is strategizing the introduction of a new feature facilitating cross-platform messaging, aligning with the objectives of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act aimed at regulating major tech entities like Meta.

WhatsApp is in the process of developing a new feature that will enable users to connect and exchange messages with individuals using third-party apps. This means that WhatsApp users will have the ability to communicate with users on different platforms without requiring the recipients to download WhatsApp for connectivity. The recent release of a WhatsApp for Android beta update (version 2.23.19.8) has introduced a new screen called “Third-party chats,” as reported by WABetaInfo, a platform that tracks WhatsApp developments.

The Third-party chats feature is currently undergoing testing with beta users, although the screen is not yet functional or accessible to users. Nevertheless, the name of this window strongly implies that it represents an initial step towards enabling Meta’s encrypted messaging app to seamlessly function across diverse platforms.

Notably, the introduction of the beta version of WhatsApp’s cross-platform messaging feature aligns with the European Commission’s classification of Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, as a “gatekeeper” under the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). According to the DMA, communication software like WhatsApp is required to establish interoperability with third-party messaging applications by March 2024.

WABetaInfo reported the new Third-party chat feature on X.com (formerly Twitter), stating, “WhatsApp beta for Android 2.23.19.8: what’s new? WhatsApp is working on complying with new EU regulations by developing support for chat interoperability, and it will be available in a future update of the app.”

The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a recent legislative initiative aimed at regulating major tech companies referred to as “gatekeepers” by the DMA. These gatekeepers are entities that exert significant influence on the internal market by controlling essential inputs or infrastructure, collecting and using data, or promoting their own products or services.

Under the DMA, gatekeepers are obligated to adhere to several requirements, including:

  • Allowing users to uninstall pre-installed applications.
  • Providing access to their data to third-party developers.
  • Streamlining the process for users to transition between different messaging applications.

One of the DMA’s pivotal provisions mandates that communication software, such as WhatsApp, must be interoperable with third-party messaging applications. This implies that users will be able to send and receive messages across various messaging platforms, irrespective of the platform they are using. This development is expected to enhance user communication by enabling seamless interactions, regardless of their messaging app preferences.

In response to these directives, both Meta and Microsoft are preparing to establish their own mobile application marketplaces. The European Commission is also scrutinising whether Apple’s i Message and Microsoft’s Bing search engine, Edge browser, and advertising platform comply with the criteria set forth by the recent regulations.

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