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Spam danger may rise if WhatsApp supports third-party chats

In the EU, the new regulations issued by the European Commission’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) necessitates that Meta’s messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger must offer interoperability with other messaging apps. Put more simply, it means that users of WhatsApp must be able to send and receive messages from users of other local messaging systems like Signal or Telegram.

The company is working to comply with these regulations. The evidence can be found in the latest beta version of the app for Android (v2.23.19.8). There is a new third-party chats feature. It enables users to chat with users on other platforms. WABetaInfo has shared a screenshot of the feature that unveils some details about the upcoming feature.

Reportedly, users will be notified and asked whether they want to use this feature or not. The welcome screen’s first bullet point states that you can message “someone outside of WhatsApp” and that “third-party apps may use alternative end-to-end encryption” if you enable third-party chats. There is an additional point of concern which states that by activating third-party chats, spams and scams might become more common.

This implies that allowing third-party chats could expose you to more spam because users of any platform could message you, which could raise the likelihood that you would fall victim to a scam. The third point is also worth mentioning. “Third-party apps have their own policies,” it states. They might not manage your data in the same way as WhatsApp. It implies that there’s a chance these apps will misuse your data, endangering your privacy.

Thankfully, it is an optional feature. Users may or may not activate it. Once the feature is activated, chats from other platforms are shown in a separate section. In this way, users can conveniently differentiate between WhatsApp chats and chats from other platforms. One thing to notice here is that this feature will be available only in the European region. Hopefully, as more people use the service, more information about it will become available.

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