It’s probably a little more interoperability than Meta would have liked, but WhatsApp is currently developing a new “Third Party Chats” section, which will enable users of other chat apps to send messages to WhatsApp users.
As you can see in this example, shared by WA Beta Info, WhatsApp’s building a new element in the app where people will be able to view messages from other providers.
The change is in line with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which includes provisions that require “gatekeeper” apps, or apps with significant market control, to “allow third parties to inter-operate with the gatekeeper’s own services in certain specific situations.”
In WhatsApp’s case, that means that it will need to allow a level of cross-platform access with other message providers, which will expand the capacity for WhatsApp to be used as a more universal messaging app.
Meta, of course, has long been working on its own cross-platform interoperability process, which will eventually enable users of Messenger, Instagram Direct, and WhatsApp to view and respond to messages sent from any platform within the other. That push gained even more momentum last week, when the UK Government dropped a key measure that sought to block Meta from implementing end-to-end encryption by default in all of its messaging apps.
That’ll pave the way for the next stage of Meta’s messaging integration push, through it’ll be interesting to see how this new measure, which will require Meta to open up its platform to outside tools, will impact broader growth and adoption.
My guess would be that Meta will still remain the leading platform for messaging in most regions, and that it’ll look to use this new element as a means to highlight the additional benefits of using its own apps for messaging, as opposed to merely porting into its service.
According to WA Beta Info, WhatsApp has a 6-month period to align its app with the new EU regulations and facilitate messaging interoperability, so it’s not ready yet, but it will be coming soon.