Meta Explains Delay in Implementing Third-Party Chats Feature on WhatsApp

WhatsApp users may have to wait longer than expected for the implementation of third-party chats on the messaging platform, as Meta recently explained the delays in bringing this feature to users. The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) requires platforms to offer messaging interoperability within three months, but Meta cited technical challenges in implementing end-to-end encryption (E2EE) architecture for third-party providers as a reason for the delay. The tech giant stated that it has been working on building a safety and privacy-centric process for nearly two years, and the process has been consulted with the European Commission.

Meta detailed its plans for enabling messaging interoperability with other platforms, such as individual text messaging, voice messages, and sharing of images, videos, and files between end users. The company aims to complete the implementation of these features by the end of the year. However, group chats and calling features are slated to be available only after 2024. Meta emphasized the importance of user security in enabling third-party providers to use the Signal Protocol for interoperability, but compatible protocols will also be allowed if they offer the same security guarantees as Signal.

Delving into the technical aspects of interoperability, Meta explained that WhatsApp employs the Noise Protocol Framework to encrypt all data between users and servers. Third-party providers will have to perform a process called the “Noise Handshake” when connecting to WhatsApp’s servers, which involves providing a payload along with the JSON Web Token (JWT Token). This protocol is crucial for establishing a connection with WhatsApp’s servers and ensuring data security during transmission.

While Meta assured that end-to-end encryption will be maintained while the data is within WhatsApp’s servers and in transit, the company expressed its inability to guarantee the same level of security once the data has been received by third-party clients. This raises concerns about data privacy and security when interoperability with third-party providers is enabled. It remains to be seen how Meta will address these challenges and ensure the protection of user data in the evolving landscape of messaging platforms.

Meta’s explanation for the delay in implementing third-party chats on WhatsApp sheds light on the technical complexities involved in achieving messaging interoperability. While the company is making efforts to overcome these challenges and ensure user security, the timeline for implementing all features remains uncertain. As users await the arrival of third-party chats and enhanced communication features on WhatsApp, it is essential for Meta to prioritize data security and privacy in its efforts to enable messaging interoperability.

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