WhatsApp launches Channels features in 150 countries, including India
WhatsApp introduced Channels in June in its blog post, saying it would launch the feature first in Colombia and Singapore.
, the messaging platform owned by , has officially rolled out the WhatsApp Channels feature in India and 150 other countries.
The feature is a one-way broadcast tool, where users can receive updates from people and organisations that matter to them, right within WhatsApp, the company said in a statement.
WhatsApp introduced Channels in June in its blog post, saying it would launch the feature first 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.
"We’re welcoming thousands of organisations, sports teams, artists, and thought leaders that people can follow right within WhatsApp," the company said. Users can join Channels through invite links shared in chats, emails, or online platforms, it added.
Channels are separate from chats and followers are not visible to others. Moreover, the personal information of admins and followers is protected.
"Our aim is to create the most private broadcast service by safeguarding the personal information of both admins and followers. As a channel admin, your phone number and profile photo won’t be shown to followers. Likewise, following a channel won’t reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. Who you decide to follow is your choice, and it’s private," WhatsApp said.
Based on the feedback from early users, WhatsApp has introduced a few updates to the feature, such as an Enhanced Directory where users can find Channels to follow, automatically filtered based on their country. Also, they can view new, most active, and popular Channels based on the number of followers.
Users can also react using emojis to give feedback and see a count of total reactions, while admins can make changes to the Channel updates for up to 30 days before WhatsApp automatically deletes them from its servers.
Further, whenever a user forwards an update to chats or groups, it will include a link back to the Channel for easy access.
"This is just the beginning, and we’ll continue to add more features and expand Channels based on feedback we get from users. Over the coming months, we’ll also make it possible for anyone to create a Channel," it added.
Celebrities, sports teams, artists, and thought leaders from India and globally, including the Indian cricket team, Katrina Kaif, Diljit Dosanjh, Akshay Kumar, Vijay Deverakonda, and Neha Kakkar have launched their channels, WhatsApp said.
The official WhatsApp Channel will also be available for product updates.
Edited by Suman Singh