Meta, the parent company of WhatsApp, is introducing Channels, a new broadcast-based messaging feature on the platform.
This update follows a similar rollout on Instagram as Meta explores different conversational avenues for its vast user base of 2 billion people.
The company also has plans to monetize this feature in the future.
On WhatsApp, Channels messages will appear in a dedicated tab called Updates, distinguishing it from the direct message approach used on Instagram.
Meta’s focus for WhatsApp Channels is primarily on facilitating channels for entities such as NGOs, medical research institutions, and fact-checking organizations, rather than individual creators.
Administrators of Channels can send various types of content, including text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls. However, these conversations will be one-way, meaning users won’t be able to directly reply to the messages.
In addition to joining channels through invite links, WhatsApp is developing a directory to help users discover and explore channels related to their interests, such as hobbies, sports teams, and local officials.
The company also plans to provide tools for admins to control the discoverability of their channels.
Meta announced the introduction of WhatsApp Channels, starting with a launch in Singapore and Colombia, with a worldwide rollout planned for later this year.
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.
As a channel admin, your phone number won’t be shown to followers, and following a channel won’t show that to the admin or others following the channel either, ”Mark Zuckerberg