EU Enforces Cross-Platform Messaging with Apps like Telegram

apps like telegram, apps, telegram, signal, snapchat

WhatsApp, owned by Meta, is now required to introduce cross-platform messaging functionality in Europe under the EU’s Digital Markets Act.

  • The DMA designates tech giants as ‘gatekeepers’ and subjects them to various requirements.
  • WhatsApp is introducing a feature to enable users in Europe to message across apps like Telegram, and Signal.

WhatsApp, owned by Meta, is now required to introduce cross-platform messaging functionality in Europe under the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) that designated the six tech giants as ‘gatekeepers.’

The DMA designates Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta (formerly Facebook), Microsoft, and ByteDance, which owns TikTok, as “gatekeepers” and subjects them to various requirements. Thierry Breton, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, affirmed in a 2022 press release that “through effective enforcement, the new rules will bring increased contestability and fairer conditions for consumers and business users, which will allow for more innovation and choice in the market.”

One of the key provisions is the promotion of interoperability—the ability of computer systems or software to exchange and make use of information—among messaging apps, ensuring that users can communicate seamlessly across different platforms.

Usually, you and your friends need to have the same messenger app to be able to communicate. The DMA wants to make it easier for people to use different messaging apps to talk to each other.

As a result, WhatsApp is now introducing a feature allowing users in Europe to exchange messages from other popular messaging apps like Telegram, Signal, and Snapchat without the need for multiple accounts.

While still invisible to users, WhatsApp has introduced the code for a “third-party chats” feature in its latest beta version. This move signifies the platform’s commitment to complying with the DMA’s interoperability requirements. It is expected that end-to-end encryption, a feature highly valued by users for its security, will be integrated with third-party services.

I’d like to point out that smaller messaging apps like Telegram and Signal, have gained popularity since 2021, primarily due to their focus on user anonymity and robust encryption features, compared to other options. So, I can’t help but wonder if opening them up to WhatsApp defies the point of their very existence.

Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, has a six-month grace period to implement these changes, meaning that cross-platform messaging could become a reality by March 2024. Failure to comply with the DMA could result in a fine of up to 10% of Meta’s turnover.

Despite the challenges and questions regarding privacy and functionality, the EU aims to foster a healthier, more competitive digital landscape, create a more interconnected messaging ecosystem for European users, and provide consumers with greater choice and innovation.

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