WhatsApp will have to make major changes to the messaging app to comply with the European Union (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA). Among them is interoperability with other messaging platforms, which poses significant challenges for developers and leads to a rethinking of approaches to ensuring the privacy and security of user data.
Dick Brouwer, WhatsApp CTO, in an interview with the publication Wired shared the prospects for this integration, which will begin with the ability to exchange voice and text messages, images, videos and files directly between users of different platforms. This will pave the way for seamless communication between users of WhatsApp and instant messengers such as Telegram, iMessage, Google Messages, Signal and others, subject to mutual support and compliance with security protocols.
WhatsApp insists on using the same encryption standards, based on the Signal Protocol, across all communicating platforms. Meta, which owns WhatsApp, is open to apps that use alternative encryption protocols if the development companies can prove they meet the security standards WhatsApp lays out in its guidelines. Third-party services will also be required to sign an agreement with Meta before connecting to WhatsApp. Details of such an agreement are promised to be revealed in March, emphasizing the desire for transparency and reliability in the new digital ecosystem.
It is noteworthy that these changes are initiated in response to the classification of Meta as a “gatekeeper” or “guardian” in the context of the DMA, which highlights the need for the company to adapt to new requirements aimed at stimulating competition and innovation in the EU digital sphere. However, it is not yet clear whether this innovation will be limited to the EU or will become more widespread.
A look at the future of messenger interactions with WhatsApp comes from an analysis of the Third-Party Chats feature discovered by analytics portal WABetaInfo last year, which is consistent with Brouwer’s claims about a separate section for messages from third-party messengers. WhatsApp plans to reveal more details about this initiative soon, setting the stage for the changes to be rolled out gradually over the coming months.
Thus, the upcoming integration of WhatsApp with other instant messengers opens a new chapter in the history of digital communications, setting itself the task of ensuring security, privacy and user convenience, although for now only in the EU.