WhatsApp Initiates Cross-Platform Messaging Development in Response to EU Regulation

In response to recent European Union regulatory mandates, WhatsApp has reluctantly embarked on the development of cross-platform messaging features, marking a pivotal moment in the tech giant’s evolution. The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) recently identified six major tech companies, including WhatsApp’s parent company, Meta, as gatekeepers subject to increased scrutiny and compliance requirements.

Last week, the DMA officially categorized WhatsApp as a Number-Independent Interpersonal Communication Service (N-IICS), signifying the regulation’s focus on messaging apps rather than traditional text messaging services. This designation means that WhatsApp, along with its sibling platform, Messenger, must work towards achieving interoperability with other messaging apps like Signal, Telegram, and Snapchat.

The first tangible step toward this goal has materialized in a new beta version of WhatsApp for Android, where users will encounter a fresh interface labeled “third-party chats.” Currently, this section is inactive, but the concept behind it is to enable users to access messages from individuals utilizing alternative messaging platforms without requiring them to create WhatsApp accounts.

The European Union identified Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, as a significant player in various core platform service categories, including social networking (Facebook and Instagram), intermediation services (Meta Marketplace), advertising platforms, and messaging apps. Consequently, Meta finds itself under increased scrutiny across multiple fronts.

In a bid to ensure compliance with the DMA, Meta and WhatsApp are racing against the clock. The DMA stipulates that gatekeepers have a mere six months to fulfill the complete set of obligations, thereby making interoperability with third-party messengers a reality by March 2024.

Notably, Apple’s iMessage remains outside the scope of core messaging services identified by the DMA. Apple contends that iMessage doesn’t yet meet the regulatory threshold of 45 million or more users, leaving it exempt from the immediate interoperability requirements.

As WhatsApp takes its initial steps toward cross-platform messaging, questions loom about how the platform will implement advanced features such as file sharing, video calls, and audio messages while ensuring end-to-end encryption with third-party services. This development marks the beginning of a technically significant project for the WhatsApp team, with the potential to reshape the messaging landscape in the coming years.

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Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Newstribune 360 journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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