WhatsApp announced a new feature on its app called Channels. If you’ve ever used channels on Telegram, then this should sound familiar to you as it’s basically the same idea: a one-way broadcast tool for public posts to anyone that follows the channel.
Channels that you follow will be folded into a new tab on the app called “Updates”, which will also contain Status updates. The feature will let admins of a channel blast out text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to all its followers with none of them being able to post anything in it, unlike group chats.
The company says that channels will be able to be shared through invite links, but it is also developing a searchable directory where you can find hobbies, sports teams, local officials and more. This means that channels will be public on the platform for anyone to access, although admins will be able to choose to make them private but they won’t be able to add followers.
That being said, the Meta-owned company is also prioritising privacy with this feature for both followers and admins. For one thing, the phone number and profile photo of admins won’t be visible to followers and likewise, the phone number of followers can’t be seen by admins or other followers.
Posts on channels are not permanent, as each content will only be up for 30 days before being automatically deleted, with WhatsApp working on options for posts to be deleted even sooner. Moreover, the admins will have the option to block screenshots as well as forwards from their channel.
Channels are quite different from the app’s broadcast list feature, as the latter only allows you to make a list of individuals from your contact list to message rather than broadcasting public posts. WhatsApp says that Channels will first be rolled out for select organisations in Colombia and Singapore, but it plans to launch it in more countries in the coming months.
(Source: Meta Press Release)