WhatsApp Beta Contains an Early Version of Third-Party Chat Support techcrunch.com

Roman Dillet, TechCrunch:

Last week, the European Union named the six big tech companies that should be considered as gatekeepers in one way or another under the Digital Markets Act (DMA). And just a few days later, as WABetaInfo first reported, a new beta version of WhatsApp features a new screen called “third-party chats” — this represents the first example of the new EU regulatory framework.

Javier Espinoza, Financial Times:

Apple and Microsoft have argued with Brussels that some of their services are insufficiently popular to be designated as “gatekeepers” under new landmark EU legislation designed to curb the power of Big Tech.


Separately, Apple argued that iMessage did not meet the threshold of user numbers at which the rules applied and therefore should not comply with obligations that include opening the service to rival apps such as Meta’s WhatsApp, said the two people.

So far, it seems the only two messaging services impacted by the Digital Markets Act are Meta’s: Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger. Perhaps the best argument in favour of displaying messages from other clients within dominant apps was made by Meta itself when it began merging its many messaging clients.

Meta’s Adam Mosseri and Stan Chudnovsky in September 2020 (emphasis mine):

In our research, four out of five people who use messaging apps in the US say that spending more time connecting with friends and family on these apps is important to them, yet one out of three people sometimes find it difficult to remember where to find a certain conversation thread. With this update, it will be even easier to stay connected without thinking about which app to use to reach your friends and family.

Of course, I have many questions about this would mean from a security and privacy standpoint. I have no idea what this would look like. Perhaps third-party clients will be able to develop plugins for Meta’s messaging apps which will permit their functionality — including end-to-end encryption — in a secure environment?