Thursday, June 08, 2023
Meta-owned WhatsApp on Thursday announced that a new feature was under development for Android, iOS, and Desktop users, providing them with the ability to follow accounts outside their personal contacts.
According to WaBetaInfo, the instant messaging app said that the new update would allow users to receive important updates from people and organisations privately and reliably after following them.
The new feature, called Channels, is available for some users in Singapore and Colombia. It will be released to more users in future.
"With Channels, WhatsApp is developing a reliable and private way to receive important updates from individuals and organisations you matter," the app-tracking website said.
Mark Zuckerberg also made the announcement of the new feature Channels — which can be accessed through Updates. This is separate from regular chats as users can follow their preferred Channels.
The admins looking over the Channels are able to share different content like text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls with their followers. Through this feature, users will be able to share different updates — from hobbies and sports teams to receiving news from local officials and much more.
Meanwhile, the privacy of the admins will also remain intact as WhatsApp keeps their phone numbers and profile photos hidden from followers.
Just like that, the phone numbers of followers will not be shown to the admins as well as who they choose to follow. This is why Channels are private tools for broadcasting information.
"WhatsApp believes channel updates should not have to stick around forever. For this reason, they plan to store channel history on their servers for up to 30 days, and they are developing new tools to make updates disappear even faster from devices," the WhatsApp watcher added.
Admins will also be able to block screenshots, and forwards from their Channels, make their Channels discoverable or keep them hidden.
However, these Channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default but there is a possibility that limited audience end-to-end encrypted Channels might be introduced in future for non-profits or health institutions.