WhatsApp, a popular instant messaging application owned by Meta, has launched a new one-way broadcast private tool called Channels, where admins will be able to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to followers.
According to the company, users in Colombia and Singapore will be the first to receive access to Channels. Over the coming months, the Meta-owned application will expand the availability of the tool for users in more countries.
“Today we’re announcing WhatsApp Channels — a private way to follow people and organizations that matter to you, right within WhatsApp. We are starting in Singapore and Colombia but will roll out to everyone later this year. We’re building Channels to be the most private way to communicate,” Mark Zuckerberg, said in a blog post.
According to Zuckerberg, as a channel admin, your phone number and profile photo remain hidden from followers, ensuring that your personal information is always protected.
Similarly, followers’ phone numbers will not be revealed to admins or other followers. In addition, the choice of whom to follow is entirely private, providing users with complete control over their participation
“One of WhatsApp’s core principles is to not store your messages. That’s why channel updates will only be available for 30 days with no permanent record. We’re just getting started with Channels. And I can’t wait to bring this to everyone later this year,” he said.
To help you select channels to follow, WhatsApp is building a searchable directory where you can find your hobbies, sports teams, updates from local officials, and more. You can also get to a channel from invite links sent in chats, e-mail, or posted online.
Also, it will be possible for admins to decide who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory or not.
Given the aim of Channels is to reach a wide audience, channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default, said WhatsApp.