Meta Working on a New WhatsApp Cross-Platform Messaging Feature to Comply with DMA Regulations

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Meta is reportedly working on a new WhatsApp cross-platform messaging feature that will enable users to chat using different apps. This new feature is a direct step towards implementing the new Digital Markets Act regulations for the European Union.

What’s it about? What will be the significance of this update? When should you expect it? Read along to know more.

WhatsApp’s Cross-Platform Feature Explained

According to the latest reports by WABetaInfo, Meta is working out a solution to comply with DMA’s EU regulations for WhatsApp to support chat interoperability. In simpler words, users will be able to chat with others on different platforms, directly from WhatsApp. As per DMA’s regulation, gatekeepers (which includes WhatsApp) have to enable interoperability, while maintaining end-to-end encryption. Since WhatsApp needs to figure out a way to support incoming and outgoing messages from other apps, maintaining security standards will be a challenge. Furthermore, they will also need to enable an opt-out feature for users who don’t want the feature.

There is no official statement by WhatsApp. So, we don’t know specifics like accessible platforms or how they’re planning to execute this feature. All we know is that a feature named ‘Third-party chats’ is currently being tested with the latest beta for the Android update.

Benefits of the Third-Party Chat Feature

Apart from making WhatsApp and messaging in general more accessible, this new feature can do wonders for smaller platforms. The main purpose of the DMA was to dismantle the monopoly that gatekeeper companies and platforms have over the internet. Smaller companies that have a competing solution just get buried and don’t survive. Features like third-party chat will force gatekeepers to allow smaller, competing platforms to grow their user base. Also ensuring security and privacy features like end-to-end encryption and opt-outs help these platforms become more user-friendly.

When Should You Expect the Release?

The EU has given a 6-month buffer for all gatekeepers to implement the regulation. The WhatsApp cross-platform feature will most likely come to the EU countries before that official deadline. Depending on the success of this feature in that region, WhatsApp may choose to expand it to other countries later on.

While this step by Meta indicates a swift compliance of the DMA, there is an underlying conflict for its personal gain. The hold it has on the messaging industry is unprecedented with WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Instagram. Now, it has to accommodate other platforms that may also include some of its rivals. This frustration may not have come out directly, but Instagram Threads’ new update shows subtle signs of distress at the Meta HQ.

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