WhatsApp is preparing to add support for third-party messaging. A report has revealed more details about how the new feature will work and the amount of control users will have while giving access to other messaging apps. It appears that the Meta-owned platform will not only allow users to choose whether or not to enable the feature, but will also allow them to decide which apps to connect to. Notably, WhatsApp must activate this feature before March 6, which is the date the new European Union (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA) comes into force.

According to a report from WABetaInfo who shared a screenshot of the new feature from the developer build version, the new feature called third-party chats is an interoperability feature for regions within the EU. The EU requires users to have a way to talk to other users on different messaging apps without having to download multiple apps. Once live, WhatsApp users should be able to send text messages to users on Telegram, Signal and other similar platforms.

Leaked screenshot of third-party WhatsApp chats
Photo: WABetaInfo

In the screenshot, a new interface page can be seen under the label of Third Party Chats. A new icon for the functionality can also be seen, which is essentially a message icon with three circles placed in a triangular shape. One of the circles is dark green, possibly indicating a third-party application. Set options for Turn off third party chats can also be seen. Another version reads Selected applications which is expected to give users control over which applications to connect to.

Detailed controls are in sync with DMA guidelines, which require users to have control over data sharing and communication preferences. This way, users can decide whether they want to use this feature or not, how long they want to use it, and which apps they want to connect to. The release date of the feature is currently unknown. It is not expected to be released outside of Europe.

An earlier report highlighted another interface page of the feature. In what appeared to be a splash screen for the feature, WhatsApp added a slew of warnings for users to understand before turning on third-party chats. While one warning highlighted the lack of end-to-end encryption for messages, another warned against increased spam and fraud.

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