WhatsApp introduces Channels for updates beyond private chats
Users can join Channels through invite links shared in chats, emails, or online platforms, WhatsApp said in a blog post.
WhatsApp on Thursday introduced a dedicated tab to receive updates from individuals and organisations, separate from the regular messaging chat feature with friends and family.
Dubbed Channels, the new feature will allow admins to broadcast text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to their followers. Users can join Channels through invite links shared in chats, emails, or online platforms, WhatsApp said in a blog post.
WhatsApp is developing a searchable directory that will include a wide range of topics, such as hobbies, sports teams, and updates from local officials and businesses, to facilitate the discovery of relevant channels.
Moreover, Channel Admins will have control over who can follow their channel and whether their channel should be discoverable in the directory and block screenshots and forwards from it.
While channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default, WhatsApp is considering the possibility of introducing end-to-end encryption for limited-audience channels, such as those operated by non-profit organisations or health institutions.
WhatsApp will initially launch the feature in Colombia and Singapore, in collaboration with select organisations, including the International Rescue Committee (IRC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), FC Barcelona, and Manchester City.
It will extend this feature to more countries in the coming months. However, the messaging app has not provided an exact launch date for India.
The development comes amid hue and cry over WhatsApp chat feeds getting flooded with spam and advertisements. Earlier this month, the app changed to a new pricing model, where it charges businesses based on the specific type of conversation they engage in instead of charging a flat fee.
Business conversations on WhatsApp are segregated into three categories: Utility, Authentication, and Marketing. While utility messages serve the purpose of providing customers with essential information regarding an ongoing transaction, such as updates on post-purchase notifications or recurring billing statements, authentication messages enable businesses to verify users through the use of one-time passcodes (OTPs).
On the other hand, marketing messages include promotions, offers, informational updates, and invitations for customers to engage or respond to polls, etc.
Edited by Suman Singh