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8 Jun, 2023
1 min time to read

WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new feature called Channels, which transforms the messaging app into a social media-like platform.

With Channels, accounts can send one-way broadcasts to their followers, similar to Telegram or Twitter, allowing them to share text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls.

Account owners have control over who can follow their channel and whether it should be discoverable. Importantly, the feature protects user privacy by not revealing phone numbers to the admin or other followers.

Users can find channels in a dedicated tab called "Updates" within the app. This separate section displays both Status updates and the channels users choose to follow, keeping them distinct from personal chats with friends and family.

WhatsApp also plans to introduce payment services for creators to monetize their channels in the future.

Privacy is a priority for WhatsApp, with the company ensuring that a channel's admin information remains private and only retaining a 30-day history. Admins also have the ability to prevent followers from taking screenshots or forwarding messages.

Although Channels are not end-to-end encrypted, WhatsApp is exploring the possibility of implementing encryption for non-profit organizations, health organizations, and other privacy-sensitive groups.

The introduction of Channels brings WhatsApp closer in functionality to its rival chat app Telegram, which has a similar feature. Earlier this year, Meta launched Broadcast Channels on Instagram, allowing creators to send updates to their followers' inboxes, resembling the concept of newsletters.

While Channels is currently limited to leading global organizations and select organizations in Colombia and Singapore, WhatsApp plans to gradually roll out the feature to more countries and users in the coming months.