Everything about WhatsApp Channels: how to use the new feature, availability, ads

Everything about WhatsApp Channels: how to use the new feature, availability, ads

WhatsApp has introduced a highly anticipated new feature: Channels. This new feature will allow you to keep up to date with the latest news on any topic - entertainment, politics, sports, and local news without leaving the app! Here's how the new broadcast tool works.

What are WhatsApp Channels and what are they for?

WhatsApp has announced the launch of Channels, "a private way to follow what matters." It's a new feature that lets individuals and companies share news and other information. In its blog, WhatsApp describes Channels as a "one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls." The functioning of those is similar to what Telegram's homonymous function allows.

And what information are we talking about? Well, any information you can think of: you can follow from the latest news of your favorite soccer team to the weather forecast in your city, the news of your favorite band, or the latest news published by your favorite media. And not only that: celebrities, influencers, and any person who creates content will be able to open their own channel to share their thoughts and information related to their work or the field in which they are experts. This way, whoever is interested will receive real-time updates in the form of a message.

As for the appearance of the Channels, from the photos shared by the company owned by Meta, it seems that they will be very similar to the current group chats, with name, photo, and description. However, there will be no possibility to respond or react to the publications.

Whatsapp Channels
© Whatsapp Channels

How to use WhatsApp Channels?

The app will have a new tab, Updates, in which the channels will appear next to Statuses. Individual and group conversations, as well as communities, will be kept in a separate tab. In order to make it easier for you to choose the channels you are interested in following, the platform is developing a thematic directory with an integrated search function.

In any case, you will be able to join a channel using invitation links received by private conversation, by e-mail or via other platforms. It is expected that organizations, brands and content creators who create their own channel will post the corresponding link on their social networks. But to follow a channel, you will have to do it manually, i.e., no one will be able to add you without your consent. 

Can I already use Channels on WhatsApp in my country?

Yes, this new feature has begun to work worldwide.

Who can create a channel?

WhatsApp has said on its blog that any person or organization can create their own channel and has not mentioned any restrictions, such as the number of followers on other platforms. In addition, it has explained that, if they wish, administrators will be able to monetize their channel, offering premium paid services to their subscribers, as well as promote it to give it more visibility.

In an interview with the Brazilian publication Folha De S.Paulo, company head Will Cathcart was questioned about WhatsApp's future in terms of being ad-free. In response, Cathcart clarified that WhatsApp would not feature ads in the user's inbox or disrupt the overall "messaging experience." He though mentioned that while Channels might introduce subscription fees, owners could choose to promote ads specifically within the Channels feature.

Are WhatsApp Channels safe in terms of privacy?

WhatsApp has placed great emphasis on the privacy of this new feature and explained that it is the "most private broadcast service available". This implies that the personal information of administrators and subscribers (such as name, photo or phone number) will in no case be visible to other users.

In addition, the publication history of the channels will only remain on WhatsApp servers for a maximum of 30 days, after which it will be automatically deleted. Administrators, likewise, will have the option to activate the blocking of screenshots or forwarding of their content; they will be able to decide whether to make their channel visible to the public and also who can follow them. 

Finally, although the channels will not be end-to-end encrypted to allow wide dissemination, the company has said that it is considering enabling encryption in specific cases, such as for organizations that handle sensitive information. 

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