WhatsApp and Co. under one roof: EU wants to build bridges

WhatsApp and Co. under one roof: EU wants to build bridges

The boundaries between messengers, social media apps and online applications should fall if the EU Parliament has its way. With planned regulations one wants to put oneself in the service of the consumer. But they are not without risk.

Interoperability is to come. As part of the Digital Markets Act, the EU Parliament wants to prevent cartel-like structures of so-called "gatekeepers". The planned regulations include services such as WhatsApp and other messengers such as Signal or Facebook, as well as social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram or sales platforms such as Booking.com - but only if they have "access" to the market like a "gatekeeper" check. But what exactly does interoperability change?

WhatsApp, Instagram, Booking.com: The limits should fall

In short: The limits should fall. Users should be able to send messages or pictures to Signal contacts from their WhatsApp account and vice versa. The aim is to limit the market power of individual large providers and give consumers free access to online markets (source: European Parliament).

The regulations should only apply to the largest companies with an annual turnover of at least 8 billion euros in the European economic area and a market capitalization of 80 billion euros or more. You must be active in at least three EU member states and have a minimum of 45 million monthly users. International online service providers - for example the offers of the Meta Group (formerly Facebook) - easily reach these limits.

Users of the services should benefit , among other things, from greater freedom of choice. A change in messenger, for example, would then no longer be a question of which contacts also use the new service. In the EU Parliament, there was a clear majority in favor of the regulation.

Online interoperability: EU still has many questions to answer

But nothing has been decided yet. The first thing to do is to clarify with the member states how Parliament's plans can be implemented. The Bundeskartellamt in Germany is already examining the structures of the messenger with regard to possible interoperability.

Interoperability affects many popular apps that simply belong on every mobile phone:

Among other things, it is important to ensure that data protection does not suffer from opening, for example through end-to-end encryption between messengers. Ultimately, the functionality of the applications would have to be largely aligned. This can also become an obstacle to future innovations.

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