WhatsApp users could soon be able to access the messaging service across multiple devices in a fresh upgrade planned by Facebook, which will no doubt be a major boon for potential advertisers, too.
The new version will transform WhatsApp into a truly multi-platform experience that will allow users to switch seamlessly between their tablet, smartphone and desktop computer when sending and receiving messages, rather than just through their phone.
Facebook has already revealed plans to integrate WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger, claiming it will offer “the best messaging experiences” for its billions of users around the world.
While all three will remain standalone apps, they will be linked so messages can be sent between the different services. However, linking user data at such a fundamental level has already raised the hackles of data protection regulators.
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has said it will be “very closely scrutinising” the proposal. As far back as 2016, the UK Information Commissioner’s Office put the kibosh on plans to merge WhatsApp with Facebook’s wider business, ruling it would be in breach of data protection law.
According to WaBetaInfo, “with the new system, WhatsApp is also improving their end-to-end encryption, because probably something needs to be changed, [as] the messages must be sent to more devices. This is also the reason why WhatsApp for iPad was not released yet, even though it’s ready.”
In May, Facebook reneged on its pledge to never run advertising on WhatsApp – made when it paid $19bn (£11.4bn) for service in 2014 – by announcing the app will be opened up to brands from 2020.
The plan, unveiled at the social media giant’s annual Facebook Marketing Summit in the Netherlands, is that ads will appear within WhatsApp Statuses, a feature similar to Instagram Stories. The ads will take up the entire screen and urge users to “swipe up” for more details.
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