Meta announced the introduction of a broadcast-based messaging feature in WhatsApp, which is called Channels.
This extension of the functionality of the popular messenger is similar to the update that Meta has implemented in Instagram. Currently, the technology giant is conducting experiments aimed at providing new communication opportunities to its users, whose total number is 2 billion people. Meta also considers the update as a new source of income through the commercial application of an additional function.
In WhatsApp, channel messages will be displayed in a new tab called Updates. This Meta solution is a departure from the traditional concept of Instagram functioning, which stipulates that channel announcements should be transmitted via direct messages.
In the case of the WhatsApp update, the tech giant focused on the use of channels by organizations such as NGOs, medical research institutes, and authorities for verifying the accuracy of published information. In this case, the emphasis is not on individual authors, but on the activities of large or relatively large structures in the information space.
Meta informs that channel administrators can post photos, videos, text materials, and stickers and run user surveys on the corresponding virtual pages. An important clarification about the functioning of the channels is that in this case the principle of one-sided conversation is applied. This means that users do not have the opportunity to comment on the materials published by the administrators.
A person can become a member of the channel by the invitation link. Also, a directory will be created in the messenger to search for online pages of sports teams, officials, and venues that unite people with a common hobby on a single piece of virtual space.
For administrators, there are tools that allow you to disable the possibility of detection for their channels.
Mark Zuckerberg said that the appearance of channels means that WhatsApp users have the opportunity to monitor events related to the life of individuals and the functioning of organizations. He also said that initially the new feature will be launched in Singapore and Colombia. By the end of this year, the geography of the application of the updated range of capabilities will be expanded.
Zuckerberg said that channels will become the most private way to communicate. Subscribers will not have access to the administrator’s phone number information. Users who are readers of a particular channel can also not worry about the protection of personal data.
Zuckerberg said that messages sent through the channels will be deleted after 30 days. Separately, he noted that the company will not archive these messages and fix them in any way for later storage.
Channels of the Singapore Heart Foundation and Colombia Check fact-checking tools have already appeared on WhatsApp. The International Rescue Committee (IRC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and football clubs Barcelona and Manchester City, according to Meta, have also created pages to inform users about their activities.
The ultimate goal of the technology giant in the context of the introduction of a new feature is that everyone who uses WhatsApp has the opportunity to create their own channel.
Meta is currently studying various actions that have become available after the expansion of the functionality. The company is considering the prospect of removing end-to-end encryption for large channels in order not to limit the audience.
Also, online pages of the new format can be used as a way to generate income. In this case, Meta can introduce paid services for business representatives. For example, commercial companies on a paid basis can order promotions in the catalog.
Over the past few months, WhatsApp has allowed users to pay sellers from the app in Brazil and Singapore.