WhatsApp, the popular messaging platform, announced the global expansion of its Channels feature.
Initially available in ten countries, Channels are now accessible in over 150 countries, providing a “private way to receive updates that matter to you,” according to Meta.
The move aims to diversify the types of content that people can access directly within the app, including updates from organizations, sports teams, artists, and thought leaders.
The Channels feature is distinct from regular chat conversations on WhatsApp.
It offers a secure environment where users can follow different channels without revealing their choices to other followers.
Screenshot from Threads, September 2023
The company emphasizes privacy, stating that admin’s and followers’ personal information will remain protected.
As part of the global rollout, WhatsApp is introducing the following updates to enhance the user experience.
- An Enhanced Directory that allows users to discover channels based on their location. It also sorts channels by new arrivals, most activity, and popularity based on follower count.
- Reactions so users can react to updates using emojis. The total count of responses will be visible, but individual reactions will remain anonymous.
- Ability to edit channel updates for up to 30 days, after which they will be automatically deleted from WhatsApp servers.
- A link to the original channel will be included to forward an update to chats or groups, facilitating more accessible access to more information.
WhatsApp indicated that these updates are just the initial steps in a broader strategy. In the coming months, the company plans to roll out more features and open up the possibility for any user to create a channel.
The company also announced the launch of the official WhatsApp channel to keep users up-to-date on new features and updates directly within the app.
The global expansion of WhatsApp Channels will offer organizations and thought leaders new ways to engage with their audiences on a more private platform.
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