WhatsApp ‘Third-Party Chat’ Interface Leaked Ahead of EU’s DMA Deadline

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WhatsApp, the end-to-end encryption (E2EE) messaging platform, is expected to soon add support for third-party messages. Now, a leaked image has surfaced that shows a glimpse into how the new interface would look. The image suggests that the feature may only debut in Europe for now. Notably, the Meta-owned platform is required to add support for cross-platform messaging as per the European Union’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA), which comes into effect on March 6. It is expected that WhatsApp will make the feature live before the deadline.

The leaked screenshot was shared via a WABetaInfo report, which revealed that in the upcoming WhatsApp build version 2.24.5.18, a chat interoperability feature will be added. Also known as third-party chats, it will allow users to send messages to a user on Signal, Telegram, or other messaging apps directly from WhatsApp, without needing to install the said app. The feature is said to allow more fluid and accessible communication between users by lifting the platform-related restrictions.

Leaked screenshot of WhatsApp’s Third-party chat interface
Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

In the leaked image, a header labeled Third-party chats can be seen. The screen appears to be an opt-in screen, with the bottom containing a button to Turn on the feature. The middle of the page comes with several warnings. The first warning states, “You’re messaging someone outside of WhatsApp. Third-party apps may use different end-to-end encryption.” Another warning highlighted that instances of spam and scams might be more common with third-party chats. The final warning read, “Third-party apps have their own policies. They may handle your data differently than WhatsApp does.” The final line explained that the feature is being offered to users in the European region as required by law.

WhatsApp Engineering Director Dick Brouwer earlier confirmed the feature, stating the company was working on it, according to a report. He also explained that these chats will be shown separately as they are not protected by the messaging app’s E2EE protocol. It was also said that WhatsApp has begun documenting its client-server protocol to let other chat services connect their clients directly to WhatsApp’s servers and message users across platforms.

In case third-party platforms are unwilling to follow the procedure, they would need to verify that their encryption protocol matches WhatsApp’s security standard. The report highlighted that several popular platforms did not confirm if they were working with the Meta-owned platform to add support for chat interoperability or not.


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