We are excited to announce the release of Channels, an easy-to-use, dependable, and private way to get important updates straight from people and organizations on WhatsApp. You may now access channels through a special tab named “Updates,” which is distinct from the chats you have with friends, family, and communities.
Administrators can broadcast messages to users in a one-way mode, including text, images, videos, stickers, and polls, by using Channels. We are working on creating a searchable directory where you can find content about sports teams, local government updates, hobbies, and much more. This directory will help you locate relevant channels to follow. You can also join a channel by clicking on invite links that are shared online, via email, or in chat rooms.
Our goal is to build the safest broadcast service we can, with a focus on safeguarding followers’ and channel managers’ personal data. Your phone number and profile picture will stay concealed from followers as a channel admin. Comparably, when you follow a channel, neither the admin nor other followers will be able to see your phone number. Who you choose to follow is completely up to you and will remain confidential.
Like our messaging strategy, we think Channel updates shouldn’t be kept around forever. Henceforth, we shall retain channel history on our servers for a maximum of thirty days, and we shall implement methods to expedite the removal of updates from followers’ devices. Moreover, administrators would be able to prevent screenshots and forwarding.
Additionally, we will empower admins to determine who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory. While the goal of Channels is to reach a wide audience, they are not end-to-end encrypted by default. However, we recognize that there are scenarios where end-to-end encrypted channels for a limited audience, such as non-profit or health organizations, may be relevant. We are exploring this as a potential option for the future.
To initiate Channels, we are excited to collaborate with leading global voices and select organizations in Colombia and Singapore, where Channels will first be available. This will allow us to build, learn, and refine the experience. Channels will be expanded to more countries, and the ability for anyone to create a channel will be introduced in the coming months.
Furthermore, we see an opportunity to assist admins in building businesses around their channels by leveraging our expanding payment services. We also plan to offer the ability to promote specific channels in the directory to enhance awareness.
Naturally, private messaging among friends, family, and communities will continue to be the core function of WhatsApp, and it will always be our primary focus. The introduction of channels is a significant step that our users have been requesting for years. We believe the time is right to introduce a simple, reliable, and private broadcast tool, and we hope you enjoy using it in the months and years ahead.