WhatsApp takes its Channels feature global

13 Sep 2023

Image: © MMollaretti/Stock.adobe.com

Meta said it aims to create the most private broadcast service available, by giving users a way to get information from specific groups without other followers knowing.

After a slow and steady launch, WhatsApp is launching its Channels function in more than 150 countries to give users a private way to receive information.

Launched earlier this year, Channels is a feature that lets users follow specific pages for information, such as NGOs, medical research institutions and local authorities. The company said its goal is to create the most private broadcast service available.

The feature is separate from chats and allows users to select who they want to follow privately from other followers. Meta also claims the personal information of both Channel admins and followers are protected.

As part of the global launch, Meta said thousands of new Channels are being welcomed to WhatsApp, such as sports teams, thought leaders, artists and more. Examples include Olivia Rodrigo, David Guetta, Billboard and MLB. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also launched his own WhatsApp Channel.

The global launch also comes with a batch of updates to the service, based on the feedback from its initial launch in 10 countries earlier this year.

Some of these features include the ability to filter Channels based on your country, or find Channels based on which are newest, most active or most popular.

Users can also react to Channel content with emojis as a way to give feedback, while Channel admins will soon be able to make edits to any updates they post.

“This is just the beginning, and we’ll continue to add more features and expand Channels based on feedback we get from users,” Meta said in a statement “Over the coming months, we’ll also make it possible for anyone to create a Channel.”

Meta has been pushing privacy-related updates recently. In August, the company said it plans to bring end-to-end encryption to Messenger by the end of this year, following a test roll-out that began on 22 August.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic