WhatsApp to Introduce ‘Third Party Chats’ Support to Comply With EU’s DMA Regulations

Feb 8, 2024


WhatsApp – Meta-owned messaging app with support for end-to-end encryption (E2EE) – will soon add support for cross-platform messaging. Support for third-party chat will allow people to use a different messaging platform to text users on WhatsApp, and Meta has said the feature will be opt-in to prevent users from getting spammed across the services. Will go. The company's confirmation of its efforts to enable cross-platform messaging comes ahead of the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) deadline of March 6.

When upcoming chat interoperability is enabled on WhatsApp, users will be able to send messages with different types of attachments, WhatsApp engineering director Dick Brouwer confirmed to Wired. They will see a new “Third Party Chats” section at the top of their chat list that will inform them about messages they receive from users on other platforms, while separating these chats from chats protected by WhatsApp's E2EE encryption.

To send messages to WhatsApp users, other chat platforms can encrypt messages and send them using the open source Signal protocol, while connecting to Meta's proprietary chat platform to send and receive messages. Brouwer told the publication that WhatsApp is documenting its client-server protocol that will let other chat services connect their clients directly to WhatsApp's servers and send messages to users across all platforms.

If companies do not want to follow the prescribed process, they must demonstrate that their encryption protocol matches WhatsApp's security standards – or use a less secure “proxy” that communicates with their service. According to the report, several popular messaging platforms have not confirmed whether they have partnered with WhatsApp to add support for third-party chats.

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A feature tracker previously spotted a third-party chat interface in development
Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

The report adds that regular SMS messages will not be supported thanks to the third-party chat feature. Meanwhile, unlike personal chat, calling and group conversations on chat platforms will not be available this year. Brouwer also said that features on WhatsApp chat will be developed at a different pace than third-party chat. Users must also opt out of receiving chats from third-party platforms to prevent spam and scams.

While a feature tracker previously spotted an interface for third-party chat in development, there is no word from the company on when support for the feature will be rolled out. The DMA rules deadline is March 6, which means there's less than a month to go before WhatsApp starts supporting the feature – at least in the EU. We can expect to hear more about third-party chat on WhatsApp in the coming weeks.


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