Implications of moving to the WhatsApp Cloud API

Neelke Stadler Updated by Neelke Stadler

Meta announced in November 2023 that they will transition to a fully cloud-hosted WhatsApp Business Platform (referred to as the Cloud API).

Meta is retiring the on-premise WhatsApp Business API solution in 2024. This means that all Turn customers need to move from the on-premise API to the Cloud API. Let's look at the details so you understand why the move is necessary, and what the implications are.

The timeline from WhatsApp 

From January 9th, 2024, all new features from WhatsApp will be exclusively shipped to their Cloud API. Current Cloud-only features include things like reactions and higher throughput. All the exciting upcoming features like Payments, Calling, and Groups will be Cloud-only. 

No new sign-ups to the On-premise API will be allowed after July 1, 2024. And the On-premise API officially sunsets on October 25, 2025. WhatsApp strongly recommends migrating in the coming months for Cloud-only benefits and features.

The timeline from Turn

To align with the communicated timeline, we will be transitioning all existing chat services on Turn (both the shared and the private cloud environments) to the Cloud API in the first quarter of 2024.

Timelines have been communicated as follows:

  • All new services signing up to Turn will be on the Cloud API from January 26th, 2024
  • All services on the shared Turn environment will be moved over starting February 1st, 2024
  • All services on the private cloud environments will be moved over starting March 15th, 2024

What does this mean for you

  • It will be a seamless upgrade with at most a few seconds of downtime, no action is required on your end. 
  • Meta guarantees that services will automatically be upgraded to a high-throughput configuration on the Cloud API as part of the migration.
  • The future will include WhatsApp CAPI-only features (like Payments, Calling, and Groups), as Meta rolls these out.
  • For private cloud customers, there will be a reduction in hosting costs. Early indicators show that moving to the Cloud API results in a 25% cost reduction.

The Cloud API doesn’t change the privacy guarantees

The Cloud API is a secure API made available by Meta. connects to this API on your behalf and uses it for message processing. Have a look at Meta’s documentation on data privacy and security and their FAQs. The Cloud API has local storage capabilities which guarantees that data temporarily stored by Meta is stored within a specific geographic region. We will default to a region that is geographically closest to your private cloud environment.

In very simple terms:

  1. Nothing in Turn changes. There is no need for you to change any of your API integrations or workflows. We have ensured that this is a fully backward-compatible change.
  2. What is changing is how Turn transfers messages to the WhatsApp network. Private cloud environments used to be responsible for running WhatsApp gateway software, this is no longer a requirement. Meta is now responsible for running the infrastructure and Turn communicates directly with Meta for message handling. We have seen this result in a reduction of hosting costs of up to 40%.
  3. Meta, and access to your messaging data.

From Meta’s Data & Privacy documentation:

“Messages sent or received via Meta’s Cloud API are only accessed by the Cloud API, no other part of Meta can use this information. Messages have a maximum retention period of 30 days in order to provide the base features and functionality of the Cloud API service; for example, retransmissions. After 30 days, these features and functionality are no longer available. Cloud API does not rely on any information about the user (customer/consumer) the business is communicating with other than the phone number used to identify the account. This information is used to deliver the messages via the WhatsApp client code. User phone numbers are used as sources or destinations of individual messages; as such they are deleted when messages are deleted. No other part of Meta has access to this information”.

Refer customers to the documentation and the linked FAQs for further information.

  1. Messaging remains secure. Connections between Turn and Meta’s APIs are encrypted with the TLS connection protocol. For local storage requirements, the Cloud API offers local storage within geographic regions, and we will select a region closest to the private cloud when migrating a customer’s WhatsApp services to the Cloud API.
  2. Your data at rest remains within Turn. This was always the case, there are no changes there.
  3. End users will be informed of the change. A banner in the chat conversations will automatically appear the first time they interact with the service after the migration.

Reach out to us if you have any further questions.

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