WhatsApp is ready to interoperate with third-party messengers

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In a recent blog post, Meta has explained how third-party messengers will interlink with Messenger and WhatsApp. The company’s initiation into this venture follows the release of the Digital Markets Act (DMA) by the European Union, a regulation that takes effect this week. Meta says it will use its existing client/server architecture to achieve interoperability.

Meta explains how third-party messengers will safely integrate with WhatsApp

The firm claimed that this method not only meets the DMA’s requirements but also offers user security and privacy for other providers integrating with Meta. The interoperability framework has been in the works in collaboration with the European Commission for over two years.

Engadget notes that Meta will initially keep the system limited to text-based messaging, sharing images, voice notes, videos, and other document files. Group chats, calling features, and third-party app interoperability may come later.

Third-party developers looking to connect with Messenger and WhatsApp will likely have to use the Signal protocol for now. Meta currently uses Signal for end-to-end encryption (E2EE) in both apps as it is considered an industry standard. Developers may use compatible protocols if they can show they offer equivalent security guarantees to Signal.

Meta recommends caution and explains when messages remain within either the WhatsApp or Messenger ecosystems, the company controls both sending and receiving clients. This way, Meta ensures content is visible only to intended recipients. However, when messages go through third-party apps from other endpoints outside these ecosystems, Meta does not control them and cannot guarantee security.

Developers will face these limitations before crossing with WhatsApp

To integrate their apps with Messenger and WhatsApp, developers must host media files they send on their servers; WhatsApp or Messenger will then download these files via a Meta proxy service. The makers of a third-party messaging app must sign an agreement with Meta to enable interoperability.

The company commits that once it has received an onboarding request from a developer, it will try to activate interoperability with that service within three months. However, the functionality could take longer before going official publicly. Meta plans on enabling a seamless connection between its messaging apps and those from other developers while prioritizing user privacy and security. By including interoperability within its ecosystem, developers and users will have more opportunities at their disposal.