One of the features that made the messaging app Telegram popular is channels, which enabled people to receive updates and build communities. Now, Meta-owned messaging service WhatsApp is launching a similar feature to over 150 countries, including India.
Announced in April, WhatsApp Channels aims to make it easier for users to broadcast information. Earlier this week, WhatsApp said it is officially launching the feature. “We’re welcoming thousands of organizations, sports teams, artists, and thought leaders that people can follow, right within WhatsApp,” a press release said. Earlier this year, Meta-owned Instagram also launched broadcast channels, a similar feature, to allow creators to share text, video, photos, polls and more with their followers.
Through Channels, WhatsApp aims to build the most private broadcast service available, the company added. Unlike chats, people can use Channels to choose who to follow and this is not visible to other followers. WhatsApp has also ensured that the personal information of both admins and followers stays secure.
The new feature comes with an improved directory where users can find channels to follow that are automatically filtered based on their country. People can also view channels that are new, most active, and popular based on the number of followers. Users can also react using emojis to give feedback. The total count of reactions is displayed in a similar way to Instagram. However, how people react will not be shown to the followers.
Admins will be able to make changes to their ‘updates’ for up to 30 days. After the set time, WhatsApp will automatically delete them from their servers. To make it easier to share, whenever people forward an update to chats or groups, it will include a link to the channel so that people can go to it for more information.
“This is just the beginning, and we’ll continue to add more features and expand Channels based on feedback we get from users,” WhatsApp said in the statement. In the next few months, WhatsApp will make it possible for anyone to create a channel. The channels feature can be accessed on WhatsApp Web using the Channels icon. On the phone, people can access it using the ‘Updates’ tab.