WhatsApp has introduced Channels, a broadcast feature that paves the way to the app’s goal of becoming “the most private broadcast service available”.
WhatsApp Launches Broadcast Channels in Singapore and Colombia
WhatsApp announced the new feature in a blog post on 8 June 2023. It will work similarly to broadcast channels on Instagram, which allow an admin to send one-way broadcast messages to followers. These include text, photos, stickers, and polls.
While the announcement focuses on specific use cases, such as organization or sports club broadcasts, the feature will eventually allow anyone to create a channel.
The feature is initially launching in Singapore and Colombia, with more countries to follow over the next few months.
Unlike the WhatsApp Communities feature, channels will be discoverable in a directory on WhatsApp. But admins will be able to decide if their channels are discoverable.
In its post, WhatsApp noted that Channels are a long-requested feature:
“Building channels is a big step our users have asked us to take for years. We think the time is finally right to introduce a simple, reliable, and private broadcast tool and we hope you enjoy using it in the months and years to come.”
However, it’s important to note that channels will not be end-to-end encrypted by default. But the company is exploring this as a future option for smaller organizations such as non-profits.
To protect the privacy of users, admins won’t have their numbers or profile photos displayed in a channel. Similarly, users who follow a channel won’t have their numbers shown to admins and other users.
Broadcast messages from channels will appear in a new tab called Updates. Here, users will find Status updates from contacts and posts from channels.
Users will be able to follow updates from sports teams, lugar officials, and even channels dedicated to their hobbies.
WhatsApp Channels Bring Broadcasting to the Platform
While WhatsApp says that it will continue to focus on private messaging between friends, families, and communities; channels will enable organizations and businesses to reach wider audiences than before.