WhatsApp recently launched a new feature; WhatsApp channel. Channels provide a simple, reliable, and private way to receive important updates from people and organizations, right within WhatsApp. Channels are built in a new tab Updates. This is in the middle where the Status title uses to appear.
The new feature now consists of the Status and channels that you choose to follow. This is separate from a user’s personal chats with family, friends, and communities, hence privacy is guaranteed.
With the increase in the consumption of news and information digitally, communication in organizations has adopted digital space to communicate with other organizations, employees, and customers. Channels serve organizations better in this purpose.
Channels are a one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls. To help WhatsApp users select preferable channels to follow, WhatsApp has built a searchable directory where users can find their hobbies, sports teams, updates from local officials, and more. Users can also get to a channel from invite links sent in chats, e-mails, or posted online.
How WhatsApp Channel Works
WhatsApp has built the most private broadcast service available. To achieve privacy, the personal information of both admins and followers is protected. The Channel Admin’s phone number and profile are not revealed to the followers, similarly, the followers’ details are hidden from the admin and other followers.
ii. Disappearing Updates
WhatsApp only stores Channel history on its servers for up to 30 days and thereafter it disappears. WhatsApp is working on innovative ways to make updates disappear even faster from followers’ devices. Admins are able to block screenshots and forwards from their channels.
ii. Private or Public WhatsApp Channel.
It is possible in the new feature, for admins to decide who can follow their channel and whether they want their Channel to be discoverable or not.
iii. End-to-End Encryption
Given that the aim of Channels is to reach a wide audience, channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default. This is because WhatsApp thinks, there are some cases where end-to-end encrypted channels to a limited audience might make sense, such as a non-profit or health organization. This feature is still being explored and may be available in the future.
WhatsApp first launched Channels last month for users based in Singapore and Colombia. The company launched this feature to let people follow different NGOs, medical research institutions, fact-checking bodies, and local authorities to get information.
With time ability to create Channels will be available to many people and more so to support admins with a way for them to build a business around their channel using WhatsApp’s expanding payment services as well as the ability to promote certain channels in the directory to help increase awareness.