Announced earlier this year, WhatsApp has officially launched its latest feature called Channels. The feature is more like those infamous Facebook groups and can be used as a broadcasting tool for individuals and organizations wanting to share updates with their followers.
So in this case you can think of a channel more like a group you follow e.g Man City fan group, My workplace, Foodies, or South African creators.
Channels can be accessed through a dedicated Updates tab within WhatsApp. Admins of channels will have the ability to share a variety of content, including messages, photos, videos, stickers, and polls, catering to a wide range of interests. For instance, sports teams can keep fans updated on games and players, local officials can provide news and announcements, and favorite creators can share their latest content.
To make it easier for users to find relevant channels, WhatsApp is developing a searchable directory where hobbies, sports teams, local officials, and more can be discovered. Channels can also be accessed through invite links shared in chats, emails, or posted online. One of the key privacy features of Channels is that as a channel admin, your personal 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.
WhatsApp ensures that channel history will only be stored on their servers for up to 30 days, and they are working on implementing ways to make updates disappear even faster from followers’ devices.
Admins will have additional control over their channels, including the ability to block screenshots and forwards. In the future, admins will also have the option to determine who can follow their channel and choose whether their channel should be discoverable in the directory or not. While end-to-end encryption is not available by default for channels, WhatsApp is considering cases where it may be suitable, such as for non-profit or health organizations.
The feature is now available when you update to the latest version of WhatsApp.