WhatsApp launches Telegram-like Channels: Here’s all you need to know

  • WhatsApp Channels is a new broadcasting tool on the messaging app.
  • You can follow channels based on different topics and information that you’re interested in.
  • Here’s all you need to know about WhatsApp Channels. 

Meta today launched ‘WhatsApp Channels’, a new feature that lets users follow and get updates from people and organisations within the app. It’s essentially a broadcast tool but you get to create WhatsApp Channels on different topics that people can follow, and the admin shares updates. You can send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls in WhatsApp Channels. 

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WhatsApp Channels

  • WhatsApp Channels will be visible under a new tab called ‘Updates’ along with your chats and calls. Here, all channels that you follow will be visible.
  • Meta is also building a search tool so you can find channels of different things like hobbies, sports teams, updates from local officials, and more. You can also join channels through invite links shared anywhere online. 
  • It isn’t clear if WhatsApp Channels can be created by anyone but there will be official ones as well. Some of the examples include World Health Organisation and FC Barcelona, and these channels also have the verified green tick indicating that they’re legitimate.
  • If we take a look at Instagram Channels, we can see there are multiple unofficial ones as well that anyone can join and receive updates from. 

WhatsApp Channels privacy

WhatsApp is a personal messaging app but channels act like a public tool. In order to maintain privacy, WhatsApp is going to keep the admin and follower’s phone number and profile photo hidden from everyone. But channels aren’t going to be end-to-end encrypted like other chats are.

Meta said that it will store channel history for only 30 days, and it will also work on removing updates from follower’s devices quickly. It is also considering making some channels which belong to a non-profit or health organisation end-to-end encrypted. Since admins will have control over the channel, they will also have the option to block screenshots and forwards from their channel. Admins will also be able to decide who can follow their channel, and whether it should appear in the search directory or not. 

WhatsApp Channels will be available first in Singapore and Colombia but it will roll out to everyone else later this year.