WhatsApp Announces One-Way Broadcast 'Channels' for Following People and Organizations
WhatsApp today introduced Channels, a feed-style one-way broadcast service coming to the popular chat platform where admins can send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to followers.
WhatsApp calls Channels "a simple, reliable, and private way to receive important updates from people and organizations," and cites hobbies, sports teams, and updates from local authorities as examples.
The personal information of admins is kept hidden from followers, so things like phone number and photo profile aren't shown. Likewise, following a channel won't reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. Admins will also have the option to block screenshots and forwards from their channel.
WhatsApp says it is building a directory where channels can be discovered, and you can also get to a channel from an invite link. Admins can decide who can follow their channel and whether they want it to be listed in the directory or not.
Channels can be found in a new tab called Updates, where your Status and any channels you follow will live, separate from your chats inbox.
Notably, channels aren't end-to-end encrypted by default, but WhatsApp is exploring it as a future option. Channel history stays on WhatsApp's servers for up to 30 days, and the Meta-owned company says it will add ways to make updates disappear even faster from followers' devices.
To begin with, WhatsApp is bringing Channels to Colombia and Singapore in association with "leading global organizations and select organizations," with more countries to gain channel creation "in the coming months."