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WhatsApp May Allow Messaging to Third-Party Apps like Telegram and Signal: Here’s What We Know

March 5, 2024
whatsapp application screenshot
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WhatsApp is reportedly developing a new feature called chat interoperability that would allow users to send messages to third-party apps such as Signal or Telegram. This move is seen as a response to Europe’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulations, which mandate large companies, known as ‘gatekeepers,’ to enable communication between different messaging apps.

According to information, the chat interoperability feature is currently in development and is available in WhatsApp beta version Users will have the option to enable this feature manually.

Some precautions will be in place even before the feature is turned on. These precautions include warnings such as messages being sent outside of WhatsApp, potential differences in end-to-end encryption in third-party apps, increased risks of spam and scams in third-party chats, and variations in data handling policies between WhatsApp and third-party apps.

The chat interoperability feature aims to allow users to send messages to individuals using different messaging services like Telegram or Signal. However, these chats will be organized separately under a distinct inbox in the chats tab.

WhatsApp’s engineering director, Dick Brouwer, has confirmed the introduction of the chat interoperability feature in response to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulations. Initially, interoperable chats will focus on text messages, pictures, voice messages, and videos, with features like calls and group chats potentially taking more time to become interoperable.

The screenshot reveals a new interface page labeled “Third-party chats” with an icon featuring a message icon and three circles arranged in a triangular shape, where one circle is in a dark green color, likely representing a third-party app. Users will also have the option to turn off third-party chats and select specific apps to connect with.

The move is seen as a response to regulatory requirements, emphasizing interoperability between messaging platforms.
Precautions are being implemented to inform users about potential variations in encryption, security risks, and data handling policies when communicating with third-party apps.

The phased approach to interoperability will initially focus on basic message types, with more complex features potentially taking longer to implement.

The development of chat interoperability may bring about increased flexibility for users, allowing them to communicate across different messaging platforms seamlessly. However, the precautions highlight the importance of user awareness and data security in such cross-platform interactions.

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