The new feature will be made available in Colombia and Singapore first
The channels will be a one-way messaging feature for the admins
These will be listed in the dictionary where people will be able to choose and follow as per their areas of interests
WhatsApp has launched Channels to streamline the exchange of updates and information.
In a blog post, the tech giant said, “We’re building Channels in a new tab called Updates – where you’ll find Status and channels you choose to follow – separate from your chats with family, friends, and communities.”
According to the company, the channels will be a one-way broadcast feature for only the admin to send text, photos, videos, etc. To help users select the right channels to follow, WhatsApp will provide a searchable directory where people can find hobbies, sports, and other areas of interest. In addition, one may also get into a channel using an invite link.
On the personal information and data security front, the company is looking to protect data of both the admins and the other channel members. The tech giant said, “As a channel admin, your phone number and profile photo won’t be shown to followers. Likewise, following a channel won’t reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. Who you decide to follow is your choice and it’s private.”
However, unlike the chat history, channel updates will be on the server only for 30 days and going forward, the company will try to figure out ways to make the updates disappear from a user’s device even faster. Admins will also have the option to block screenshots and forwards from their channels.
Further, the admins will be able to decide who can follow their channels and whether they want their channels to be discoverable in the directory or not.
The Meta owned messaging platform aims at enabling admins to reach a wider audience and those are not encrypted by default.
The new feature will be made available in Colombia and Singapore, first. For the rest of the world, it will be made available soon.
According to WhatsApp, this feature will help admins grow their businesses around, using WhatsApp’s payment services as well as help certain channels in the directory to increase awareness.
WhatsApp has been active on data privacy and users’ security largely. After fraud instances from international numbers were reported by several users, the messaging service reportedly agreed to deregister the mobile numbers that have been identified as committing fraud.
Last year also, the company banned about 2.6 Mn phone numbers from its platform out of which 1.8 Mn, were banned in response to complaints from users, and the remaining 8.72 Lakh were banned for flouting community guidelines.