WhatsApp might be adding support for third-party chats

This appears to be an effort by WhatsApp owner Meta to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which designates the company as a ‘Gatekeeper’. — Photo by Dima Solomin on Unsplash

Leaker website WABetaInfo claims that WhatsApp is working on support for third-party chats, which will be coming to a future version of the messaging app.

In its report, the website includes a screenshot of a new section in the beta version of the app. The section is largely empty, but has a heading that reads “Third-party chats”, indicating that the feature is a work in progress.

This appears to be an effort by WhatsApp owner Meta to comply with the European Union’s (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA), which designates the company as a “Gatekeeper”, requiring it to comply with several obligations.

One such obligation includes allowing for interoperability between messaging services should non-gatekeeper apps request it.

While the report from WABetaInfo does not mention how the feature will work, the EU’s DMA states that “basic functionalities” including text messages, group text messages, along with audio and video calls between messaging services have to be offered within specific time frames.

Text messages between users are required to function within six months (by March 2024), while group messages must be added within two years. Audio and video calls have a slightly longer time frame, as the Act requires the feature to be up and running within four years.

As of the time of writing, no announcements have been made regarding which (if any) messaging services have made a request to WhatsApp for such interoperability.

Currently, the only other messaging service designated as a gatekeeper is Messenger, which is also owned by Meta.

Companies under this designation can be fined up to 10% of their worldwide turnover for non-compliance, increasing up to 20% on repeat violations.

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