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Meta announces Channels for WhatsApp: Here’s everything you need to know about it

WhatsApp has announced a new Channels feature for its platform. However, at the moment, the feature is available only in Singapore and Colombia.

Edited By: Shweta Ganjoo

Published: Jun 08, 2023, 12:35 PM IST

WhatsApp Channels
WhatsApp Channels

Story Highlights

  • Meta has announced Channels for WhatsApp.
  • Channels are available in a separate Updates tab.
  • Channels are available in Singapore and Colombia only.

Meta today announced a major update for WhatsApp as a part of which it is bringing a new Channels feature to the messaging platform. WhatsApp’s new Channels feature is similar to the one available on Instagram. It is essentially a one-way broadcasting tool for people and organisations to share text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls among others in a WhatsApp group containing all the followers.

“Today we’re excited to introduce Channels: a simple, reliable, and private way to receive important updates from people and organizations, right within WhatsApp,” WhatsApp wrote in a blog post.

WhatsApp Channels features

As far as specific details are concerned, the company says that the newly announced Channels feature will be available in a new tab called Updates, which will also house the Status section. Channels will be separate from users’ chats with their family members and friends, and even the communities that they are a part of. While Communities enable two-way communication, Channels is more like a newsletter.

“We’re aspiring to build the most private broadcast service available,” the company added.

On the safety front, Channels are built in a way that protects the personal information of both admins and followers. WhatsApp says that it will hide the phone number and profile photo of a channel admin from the followers. Similarly, it won’t reveal the phone number of a follower to the admin or other followers in a channel. “Who you decide to follow is your choice and it’s private,” the company says.

The company also says that it will store the channel history on its servers for up to 30 days after which it will automatically be deleted. At the moment, the channel history will disappear from user devices after 30 days. However, the company is working to make the updates disappear even faster from follower’s devices.

While interested people will be able to join a channel from invite links sent in chats, e-mail, or posted online, admins will have the ultimate power. WhatsApp says that admins will be able to decide who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory, which is a searchable space that will help interested people to select channels to follow, or not. Admins will also have the option to block screenshots and forwards from their channel.

Lastly, the company says Channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default. However, it plans to make this feature available for select channels that it deems necessary. “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,” the company added.

WhatsApp Channels availability

WhatsApp says that at the moment, the new Channels feature is available only in Singapore and Colombia. However, it plans to expand the availability to more countries soon.

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Author Name | Shweta Ganjoo


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