WhatsApp, the instant messaging app owned by Meta, is currently working on a new feature called “channels” that will enable users to broadcast a message for several users. The feature is currently being developed for iPhones and is expected to be a one-to-many tool for broadcasting information.
What are WhatsApp Channels?
A WhatsApp channel is a private tool where phone numbers and user information are kept private, according to WABetaInfo. The company plans to rename the Status tab as “Updates” to include channels within this section. The feature has been spotted on WhatsApp beta for iOS 18.104.22.168 update available on the TestFlight app.
How does WhatsApp Channels work?
WhatsApp channels will allow users to easily receive updates from people they choose to get news from. While Channels will be an encrypted space, messages received within a channel are not end-to-end encrypted because having an encryption for a broadcast feature makes little sense. Channels won’t affect the end-to-end encryption of private messaging, which continues to be end-to-end encrypted.
Users can choose which channels they want to follow, and no one else can see who they follow, regardless of whether they have added them as contacts or not. The feature will also accept handles, allowing users to find a certain WhatsApp channel by just typing their username into WhatsApp. Users won’t get auto-subscribed to channels, as there are no algorithmic recommendations or social graphs pushing content to users that they didn’t choose to see.
What are the benefits of WhatsApp Channels?
This feature, which is still in development on the Android app, is intended to increase channel accessibility, making it easier for users to receive updates that they like. This is an optional extension of private messaging, allowing people to choose which channels they want to follow.
In February this year, Meta launched a broadcast channels feature in Instagram. “Broadcast channels are a public, one-to-many messaging tool for creators to directly engage with their followers at scale,” the company said. Company CEO Mark Zuckerberg uses his channel to announce new features and updates regarding WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook.