WhatsApp will soon be your one-stop solution for all your chat apps


  • The EU has identified WhatsApp as a gatekeeper in the messaging industry and has given it a few months to enable interoperability with other apps.
  • The EU’s Digital Markets Act aims to promote fair competition and give consumers more options for alternative services.
  • WhatsApp has already begun working on interoperability with other apps, potentially allowing smaller players like Signal to compete more fairly.

WhatsApp is one of the leading messaging apps available across platforms, and it also caters to the largest number of users worldwide. Like most other competing services, WhatsApp does not allow receiving messages sent from other apps. However, the EU recently identified the Meta property as a gatekeeper in the instant messaging space, alongside Messenger, because of their colossal user bases. To comply with the new Digital Markets Act (DMA), WhatsApp has a few months to roll out interoperability features that allow communication with users without even creating a WhatsApp account, and the first signs of ongoing development are already visible.

The EU’s DMA is a new legislation that went into effect earlier this month with the sole objective of ensuring big tech companies like Microsoft, Meta, Apple, and Google don’t hamper fair competition in the industry. It should also ensure consumers have more options for alternative services, and using them together isn’t a chore. As the first step, the EU lawmakers have given 22 core platform services the gatekeeper status, and opened investigations into their operations. Meta has six months to enable interoperability in WhatsApp and messenger, or it could face fines amounting to 10% of its annual global turnover.

A summary of the 22 gatekeeper services identified by the EU

The fine shouldn’t be a worry, though, because WABetaInfo reports WhatsApp has already started working on interoperability with other communication apps. Testers spotted a new blank screen titled Third-party chats in beta version of the app distributed through the Google Play Store. Although details are scarce because functionality is still in development, this screen should be where you would see all the messages from people who didn’t use WhatsApp to chat with you.

Source: WABetaInfo

A screenshot of the blank UI suggesting interoperability is in the works

Such interoperability could make it very easy for apps with a smaller user base, like Signal, to compete with WhatsApp and other major players like Telegram, prompting the EU to take back the gatekeeper tag. For people like you and me, interoperability would let you use an app of your choice to message a WhatsApp user, who can then see the message without switching to your app of choice. Users should also have the choice to opt out of this.

WABetaInfo says WhatsApp would have to preserve end-to-end encryption even for messages coming from other apps, but it could be rather challenging. However, it is unclear if WhatsApp will offer interoperability outside the EU, where it isn’t forced by the DMA. WhatsApp’s official announcement about these efforts may not be too distant, considering it must comply by March 2024 to avoid fines.

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