WhatsApp is set to globally launch its Channels feature, a development that will facilitate broadcasted messages to a wider audience. Initially introduced in Colombia and Singapore, the feature will soon be accessible in over 150 countries, as announced by Mark Zuckerberg on his new WhatsApp channel.
The Channels feature, which resides in a distinct tab within the app, ensures privacy as it does not disclose the channels a user follows or their personal information such as phone numbers to admins or followers. It primarily supports one-to-many communication through broadcast messages, but new interactive elements like emoji reactions have been incorporated. Users can view the total count of reactions below each message.
With this global launch, WhatsApp is enhancing its directory to facilitate channel discoveries based on a user's locale, with sorting options including "new," "most active," and "most popular." Shared updates from a channel will contain a link redirecting to the original channel. Admins have the privilege to edit a message for up to 30 days, a significant extension compared to the 15-minute window available for individual or group messages.
Despite the expansion, the creation of channels remains limited to selected individuals or organizations, a restriction WhatsApp plans to lift eventually. The platform has attracted notable figures and organizations such as Olivia Rodrigo, David Guetta, and Billboard, among others, contributing to a repository of "thousands" of channels, including one managed by WhatsApp to share app-related updates.
This move mirrors a similar feature on Instagram, aimed at fostering connections between creators and fans through one-to-many communication channels. Furthermore, WhatsApp has been exploring features to cater to various group sizes, including the introduction of Communities and unnamed groups accommodating up to six people.