WhatsApp rolls out Channels feature for broadcast messages

Meta is rolling out a new feature on WhatsApp called Channels. Channels, the Meta says is a “one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers and polls,”

Channels messages will show up in a new tab called Updates where users will find Status and channels they choose to follow – separate from their chats with family, friends, and communities.

Channels are a one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls.  Important to note that these are one-way conversations, so users won’t be able to reply to messages posted by admins.

Users can join the WhatsApp channels from invite links sent in chats, e-mails, or posted online. At the same time, to help users select channels to follow, Meta has also built a searchable directory where users can find their hobbies, sports teams, updates from local officials, and more.

Meta says as a WhatsApp channel admin, your phone number and profile photo won’t be shown to followers. Likewise, following a channel won’t reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. Who you decide to follow is your choice and it’s private.

‘’We’re aspiring to build the most private broadcast service available’’ the company said in a statement.

Meta will also make it possible for admins to decide who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory or not.

‘’Given the aim of Channels is to reach a wide audience, channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default. We do think there are some cases where end-to-end encrypted channels to a limited audience might make sense, such as a non-profit or health organization, and we’re exploring this as a future option as well. ‘’ Meta says.

To kick off WhatsApp Channels, Meta is working with leading global voices and select organizations in Colombia and Singapore, where Channels will first be available, to build, learn, and adapt the experience. ‘’We’ll bring Channels to more countries and the ability for anyone to create a channel over the coming months. ’’

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