WhatsApp introduces channels; How they will work

WhatsApp channel now available for users to follow and get updates.[Screen grab, WhatsApp]

WhatsApp has now introduced a new feature, channels, as it seeks to expand its products and capture more users.

According to the Meta owned platform, the new feature enables users to receive updates from people or organisations they choose to follow.

The channels are built in a new tab named updates where one gets channels of his or her interest in a separate column.

While using the feature, channel admins can use it as a broadcast tool to share text, photos, videos, stickers and polls by sending invite links to prospect followers.

In a WhatsApp blog, the company said the channels will also ensure protection of private information of both the admin and followers.

“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,” WhatsApp noted.

The message history for the channel updates will be stored for a period of 30 days and updates shall disappear faster on the followers’ device.

One of the restrictions on the feature is that admins can block someone from taking screenshots or forwarding channels from their channel.

Additionally, admins can also decide on who can follow their channel and whether they want their channels to be discoverable among the list of other channels.

The end-to-end encryption is applicable on some channels because the feature aims at reaching a wide audience.

“We do think there are some cases where end-to-end encrypted channels to a limited audience might make sense, such as a nonprofit or health organization, and we’re exploring this as a future option as well,” said WhatsApp.

The channel feature now adds to the list of other social media applications like telegram that had introduced it to broadcast public messages to large audiences.