A new software development kit released today by Facebook will allow developers to integrate WhatsApp verification into AccountKit for iOS and Android. The SDK will enable developers to build apps that can send verification codes to the WhatsApp installed on the phones, as opposed to the classic SMS.
This feature is already integrated into many apps that give the users the possibility of signing in using only their phone number. The option is becoming very popular as a growing number of people are choosing not to use Facebook with third parties, especially considering the numerous privacy scandals of the last few years.
Furthermore, there is a growing number of younger users that do not have a Facebook account and sometimes do not have an email address.
When a phone number is used to sign in, the standard way of confirming is for the app to send out an SMS containing a verification code to the number provided. The user can then use the code to create the account.
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The same process can also be used as a double verification system when logging in: in this case, the app requires the account information as well as a verification code making the account safer from hacks.
SMS are not everyone’s favorite though. Although the process is quite simple, there are countless users with limited messaging plans, especially in the emerging markets. In this case, users would be extra careful not to have additional charges and would avoid texting anytime it is not strictly necessary. On the opposite side, just in India alone, there are 200 million WhatsApp users.
This is why the WhatsApp SDK was created: once it has been integrated into an iOS or Android app, developers will be able to offer to send verification codes over WhatsApp instead of SMS. Facebook notes that users can totally opt out from receiving SMS verifications.
SDK is part of a larger set of tools designed to improve log-ins to apps and website by eliminating the need for passwords. The option had been available on WhatsApp web SDK and was made available today for mobile devices.