Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, has unveiled a new feature called ‘WhatsApp Channels,’ allowing users to follow and receive updates from individuals and organizations within the app. Acting as a broadcast tool, WhatsApp Channels enable users to create channels on various topics that people can follow, with admins sharing regular updates. This feature supports text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls, enhancing the communication experience within the app. Let’s delve into the details of this new feature in this article.
More On WhatsApp’s New Feature
To access the channel feature, users will find a dedicated tab labelled ‘Updates’ alongside their chats and calls. This tab will display all the channels that users choose to follow. Meta is also developing a search tool, enabling users to discover channels related to hobbies, sports teams, local updates, and more. Additionally, users can join channels through invite links shared across the internet.
While it remains uncertain whether anyone can create WhatsApp Channels. However, official channels will be available on the platform. Prominent examples include channels from the World Health Organization and FC Barcelona. Which bear the verified green tick, signifying their legitimacy. Similar to Instagram Channels, there may also be unofficial channels that anyone can join to receive updates.
WhatsApp Channels Privacy
Although WhatsApp is primarily a personal messaging app, channels function as public tool. To ensure privacy, WhatsApp will hide the phone numbers and profile photos of both admins and followers. However, unlike regular chats, channels will not be end-to-end encrypted.
In terms of privacy and data retention, Meta announced that it will store channel history for only 30 days and work to remove updates from followers’ devices promptly. The company is also considering making certain channels, particularly those belonging to non-profit or health organizations, end-to-end encrypted. Admins will have control over their channels, and they will have the option to block screenshots and restrict forwards. They can also decide who can follow their channel and whether it should appear in the search directory.
Initially, WhatsApp Channels will be available in Singapore and Colombia, with plans to roll out the feature to users worldwide later this year. This addition aims to provide users with a more versatile and interactive experience. Allowing them to stay informed about their preferred topics and organizations directly within the app.
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