Meta has launched WhatsApp Channels, the latest feature which lets followers receive updates from people and organizations within the popular instant messaging app. The Channels are available in a new Tab “Updates”. It’s where you will find new statuses and channels you follow. It is separately kept from other regular chats with users’ family, and friends.
What’s WhatsApp Channels?
WhatsApp channels are a “one-way private broadcast tool” which allows admins to send updates, and share photos, videos), and stickers. Polls can also be started with this new feature. You can choose to follow different individuals, organizations, teams, or community groups, and stay connected to their new updates.
To find channels, Meta is building a searchable directory that lets you find your sports teams, local officials, matching hobbies, etc. In addition, you can get channels from invite links sent in chats, emails, or online.
The channel history updates will stay on servers for up to 30 days. The plan is also to make updates disappear from followers’ devices. Admins can also customize the visibility of their channels. They can determine who can follow their channel, and whether it should be discoverable in the directory. Admins could also be able to earn money by promoting a business with their channel.
Are Channels Encrypted? No, but there will be exceptions
Channels are not end-to-end encrypted “by default” as the purpose is to create exposure to the mass. However, there could be exceptions to a limited audience. Entities such as a nonprofit or health organizations could have end-to-end encrypted channels in the future.
“We’re aspiring to build the most private broadcast service available”, says WhatsApp. The company writes in its blog post that it will keep admins and followers’ personal information out of public view. Channel Admins’ phone numbers and profile photos won’t be shown to followers. Similarly, when you follow a WhatsApp channel, your information won’t be revealed to the admin or other followers. “Who you decide to follow is your choice and it’s private,” continues WhatsApp.
WhatsApp will first roll out Channels in Colombia and Singapore where it’s currently working with select global organizations. More regions will follow and the ability for anyone to create channels will also be available in the coming months.
WhatsApp says that its priority is to continue as a private message among friends, family, and communities. But making channels is its address to the demands of its users for years.
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