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When will ROBOTS start chatting on WhatsApp? Don't hold your breath, says co-founder

Gab service has 'no plans' for developer APIs

F8 2015 As much as developers might want WhatsApp to publish APIs to allow other software to access its popular chat service, the Facebook subsidiary has no plans to do so.

That's the word from WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton, who took the stage at the Facebook F8 developer conference in San Francisco on Wednesday to participate in a panel discussion with execs from Facebook and fellow Facebook acquisition Instagram.

When one audience member asked whether WhatsApp would release APIs, Acton sheepishly responded, "Not today."

It wasn't until a second audience member asked a variant of the same question that Acton admitted the firm has "no plans" to offer public APIs at present.

The reason? Much as businesses might want access to WhatsApp's 700 million users, the company worries that not all of the developers who want to send message with WhatsApp will have noble motives.

"We get lots of requests from people who want to run their business or run something using WhatsApp for the communications," Acton explained. "Our concern is that we don't want users getting messages they don't want. We don't necessarily want to buzz a person's phone just because we can."

WhatsApp has pondered creating some sort of programmatic interface to WhatsApp, Acton said, but in the end it decided to focus on maintaining the quality of the user experience, rather than making WhatsApp into a backbone for all sorts of automated messaging.

Acton's comments came on the same day that Facebook said it would provide developers with greater access to Messenger, its homegrown chat app, with a new offering called Messenger Platform.

WhatsApp remains the more popular of the two services, however, and Acton said the company is focused on growing its user base even further.

"Our immediate priority is covering the world with great communications," he said. ®

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