Whatsapp Introduces "Channels"
WhatsApp Introduces Channels: A New Broadcast-Based Messaging Feature by Meta
Meta, the social media giant, is expanding its conversational avenues by launching a new broadcast-based messaging feature called Channels on WhatsApp. This feature mirrors a recent update rolled out to Instagram as Meta explores new ways to engage its vast user base of 2 billion individuals. In addition, the company has future plans to monetize this feature.
On WhatsApp, Channels messages will appear in a dedicated tab named "Updates," distinguishing it from Meta's approach on Instagram, where channel announcements are conveyed through direct messages. With WhatsApp, Meta aims to facilitate channels primarily for use by entities such as NGOs, medical research institutions, and fact-checking bodies, rather than individual creators.
According to Meta, channel admins will be able to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls on these channels. It is worth noting that these conversations will be one-way, meaning users will not have the ability to reply to these messages.
While users can join channels through invite links, WhatsApp is also developing a directory to help users discover different channels related to hobbies, sports teams, and local officials. The company has stated that it will provide tools for admins to disable discoverability for their channels if desired.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, explained in a statement, "Today we're announcing WhatsApp Channels—a private way to follow people and organizations that matter to you, right within WhatsApp. We are starting in Singapore and Colombia, but will roll out to everyone later this year. We're building Channels to be the most private way to communicate. As a channel admin, your phone number won't be shown to followers, and following a channel won't reveal your identity to the admin or other channel followers either." He also noted that messages sent on Channels will be deleted after 30 days, with no record being retained by the company.
Meta is launching Channels initially in Colombia and Singapore, with early adopters including the Singapore Heart Foundation and fact-checker Colombia Check. Several prominent international partners, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and renowned sports teams like FC Barcelona and Manchester City, have also joined the platform. Meta plans to expand the availability of the Channels feature to more countries over the coming months, with the ultimate goal of enabling any user to establish their own channel.