Messages from other apps are arriving on Whatsapp from April 11th: how to activate them

Starting from Thursday 11 April 2024 will be activated on Whatsapp the function of interoperability thanks to which it will be possible to exchange messages with third-party apps, in compliance with the Digital Markets Actthe EU-US Data Privacy Framework and the Digital Services Act. The function, which should be called Third party chat, could revolutionize the way we use the famous instant messaging service. It should be clarified, however, that it will not be possible to exchange messages with third-party apps as early as April 11th. Third-party messaging apps that wish to exploit interoperability with WhatsApp, in fact, will first have to accept the conditions and technical details set by Meta and, once sent your requestthey may have to wait three months before it is accepted. Anyone who signed up for WhatsApp after February 15, 2024 will receive a notification explaining the changes, while everyone else has in fact already accepted the new conditions. It should also be noted that from 11 April it is reduced from 16 years to 13 years the minimum age to use WhatsApp in all EU countries (it was already like this in Italy, so nothing will change).

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How WhatsApp changes from 11 April 2024

What will practically change on WhatsApp starting from 11 April 2024 will be the presence of a new menu item – in the Italian interface it will presumably be called Third party chat – which will allow you to materialize the concept of interoperability introduced with article 7 of Digital Markets Act or DMA. Among other things, this article argues that the gatekeeper (a term used to refer to large tech companies that have been “targeted” by the DMA) must:

Make the core functionality of its number-independent interpersonal communications services interoperable with number-independent interpersonal communications services
number of another provider offering or intending to offer such services in the Union, providing, upon request and free of charge, the necessary technical interfaces or similar solutions facilitating interoperability.

Translated from “legalese”, Article 7 essentially provides that a large platform like WhatsApp guarantees users the possibility of exchanging messages, photos, videos, etc. between individuals (therefore in “one-to-one” chats) while using third-party apps. The legislation also provides that within two years this will also extend to group chats and within four years also to calls (both audio and video, both single and group).

In summary, therefore, the menu item that will allow you to activate the WhatsApp interoperability function will actually be available from April 11th, but it will not immediately allow the exchange of messages with third-party apps: this will be doable later. This is because “non-gatekeeper” messaging apps will have to request WhatsApp to take advantage of interoperability with the latter.

Furthermore, Meta (the company that develops WhatsApp, as well as other services such as Facebook, Instagram and Messenger) will have to carry out a whole series of checks and tests to guarantee adequate security for its users and this could mean taking up to three months before making an app interoperable with WhatsApp. In fact, in an official press release from Meta we read:

To interoperate, third-party providers will sign an agreement with Messenger and/or WhatsApp and we will work together to enable interoperability. Today we will publish the WhatsApp Reference Offer for Third Party Providers which will outline what will be needed to interoperate with the service. While Meta must be ready to enable interoperability with other services within three months of receiving a request, It may take longer before the feature is ready for public use.


How to activate chats with other apps to send messages

Activation of the interoperability function should occur in this simple mode. Once you open the messaging app, you need to follow the path Settings > Accounts > Third Party Chats and then press the buttons Activate And Continues. Finally you have to select third-party apps with which you want to activate interoperability and save everything with a tap on the button Save (at the bottom of the screen).

Once the function is activated Third party chatmessages from apps that will be accepted by Meta for interoperability with WhatsApp will be grouped in a dedicated section of the screen Chat of the application, as can also be appreciated from the following explanatory video.

WhatsApp Meta ANSA