A Private Way to Follow What Matters - Introducing WhatsApp Channels
July 03, 2023 (5 months ago)
We are thrilled to announce the launch of Channels, a simple, reliable, and private method to receive crucial updates from individuals and organizations directly on WhatsApp. Channels are now accessible through a dedicated tab called "Updates," which is separate from your conversations with family, friends, and communities.
With Channels, administrators can send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to users in a one-way broadcast format. To assist you in finding relevant channels to follow, we are developing a searchable directory where you can discover content related to your interests, hobbies, sports teams, updates from local officials, and much more. Additionally, you can access a channel by following invite links shared through chats, email, or posted online.
Our aim is to create the most secure broadcast service possible, prioritizing the protection of personal information for both channel administrators and followers. As a channel admin, your phone number and profile photo will remain hidden from followers. Similarly, following a channel will not reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. The decision of whom to follow is entirely yours and is kept private.
Similar to our messaging approach, we believe that Channel updates should not be retained indefinitely. Therefore, we will only store channel history on our servers for a maximum of 30 days, and we will introduce ways to make updates disappear even faster from the devices of followers. Admins will also have the option to block screenshots and forwards within their channel.
Additionally, we will empower admins to determine who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory. While the goal of Channels is to reach a wide audience, they are not end-to-end encrypted by default. However, we recognize that there are scenarios where end-to-end encrypted channels for a limited audience, such as non-profit or health organizations, may be relevant. We are exploring this as a potential option for the future.
To initiate Channels, we are excited to collaborate with leading global voices and select organizations in Colombia and Singapore, where Channels will first be available. This will allow us to build, learn, and refine the experience. Channels will be expanded to more countries, and the ability for anyone to create a channel will be introduced in the coming months.
Furthermore, we see an opportunity to assist admins in building businesses around their channels by leveraging our expanding payment services. We also plan to offer the ability to promote specific channels in the directory to enhance awareness.
Naturally, private messaging among friends, family, and communities will continue to be the core function of WhatsApp, and it will always be our primary focus. The introduction of channels is a significant step that our users have been requesting for years. We believe the time is right to introduce a simple, reliable, and private broadcast tool, and we hope you enjoy using it in the months and years ahead.