WhatsApp Launches Channels Feature for Broadcast Messages – Meta is introducing a feature called Channels on WhatsApp, which allows users to send broadcast-based messages. This feature is similar to an update recently implemented on Instagram as Meta explores new ways to enhance communication for its 2 billion users.
The company also intends to monetize this feature in the future. On WhatsApp, Channels messages will appear in a separate tab called Updates. This differs from Meta’s approach on Instagram, where channel announcements are conveyed through direct messages.
On WhatsApp, Meta’s focus is on enabling channels for organizations such as NGOs, medical research institutions, and fact-checking bodies, rather than individual creators. According to Meta, admins can share text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls on these channels. However, it’s important to note that these conversations are one-way, meaning users cannot respond to the messages.
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While users have the option to join channels through an invitation link, WhatsApp is also developing a directory to help users discover channels related to hobbies, sports teams, and local officials. Additionally, Meta plans to introduce tools that allow admins to disable discoverability for their channels.
“Today we’re announcing WhatsApp Channels — a private way to follow people and organizations that matter to you, right within WhatsApp. We are starting in Singapore and Colombia, but will roll out to everyone later this year. We’re building Channels to be the most private way to communicate.”
As a channel admin, your phone number won’t be shown to followers, and following a channel won’t show that to the admin or others following the channel either, ” Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. Furthermore, he mentioned that messages sent through Channels will be automatically deleted after a period of 30 days, and Meta will not retain any records of them.
Meta is initially launching Channels in specific markets, namely Colombia and Singapore. Early adopters of this feature include organizations like the Singapore Heart Foundation and fact-checker Colombia Check. Additionally, Meta has secured partnerships with renowned international entities such as the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and prominent sports teams like FC Barcelona and Manchester City.
The company plans to gradually expand the availability of the Channels feature to more countries in the coming months, with the ultimate objective of enabling any user to create their own Channel. The company led by Mark Zuckerberg is considering various possibilities to explore with the Channels feature.
One of these possibilities involves the potential removal of end-to-end encryption for large channels in order to expand the audience reach. Additionally, Meta is contemplating the monetization potential of Channels. It is considering introducing payment services for businesses within Channels, as well as the option to promote them in the directory.
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In recent months, WhatsApp has already enabled users in Brazil and Singapore to easily make payments to merchants directly through the app. Channels serve as WhatsApp’s endeavor to facilitate conversations within large groups, following the introduction of Communities last year.
Communities aimed to provide a centralized space for discussions among clubs, schools, and residential complexes. With the introduction of Channels, WhatsApp likely intends to position itself as the preferred platform for organizations and authorities to communicate updates and alerts to users.