As the Digital Markets Act deadline approaches, WhatsApp is making a big move in interoperability.
- WhatsApp will allow users to communicate across platforms while maintaining privacy and security.
- As long as the other communication apps sign an agreement with Meta and meet their security criteria, the company is willing to interoperate.
In compliance with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), WhatsApp is allowing other secure text messaging networks in its app.
In 2023, the EU’s DMA designated six major companies as “gatekeepers.” They also gave them till March 6th to comply with most “do’s” and “don’ts”. And that deadline is fast approaching.
The most prominent bone that the EU had to pick was the lack of interoperability between these giants’ communication apps, each other’s, and other companies’ platforms. If you use WhatsApp, but your partner uses Telegram, for example, you have to either move to one platform or get both.
These separate secure text messaging ecosystems have been around for years now. Apps, like WhatsApp and iMessage, have their own distinct user base and features. Most notably, iMessage’s colored text bubbles.
But now, the tide is changing as the EU tries to reign in these tech giants’ power. As such, WhatsApp is going to become interoperable with other secure text messaging apps.
In an interview with Wired, WhatsApp’s engineering director, Dick Brouwer, emphasized that they are satisfied with the balance that they struck between providing interoperability and maintaining privacy and security. He also reassured, “One of the core requirements here, and this is really important, is for users for this to be opt-in.”
Once you opt in, you will gain access to a dedicated inbox for third-party app messages. This will keep WhatsApp’s interface clean and tidy.
To make this a functioning reality, secure text messaging apps must adhere to Meta’s stringent encryption standards, preferably utilizing the Signal Protocol. They do make it clear that, as long as the alternative protocol meets the gatekeeper’s security criteria, they’ll allow it.
We won’t know for sure the full details of the agreements that the other companies would need to strike up with Meta to make this happen until March. But what is certain is that it will change the way we interact and communicate.
Instead of using several different secure text messaging apps to reach separate groups of people, you’d only download your preference and use that to contact everyone else. It frees up storage on your phone, which you most probably need because who cleans out their storage these days, am I right?
If this goes through, will you stay on with WhatsApp, or relive the glorious 2014 era of Viber?
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