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Whats App channel features starts rolling out: What it is, 30 days expiry, admin control and more

WhatsApp has introduced a new feature called WhatsApp Channels, which provides a simple, reliable, and private way for users to receive important updates from people and organizations within the app. Channels are accessible through a new tab called Updates, separate from regular chats with family and friends.

Channels allow admins to send one-way broadcasts consisting of text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls. To help users discover relevant channels, WhatsApp is creating a searchable directory where users can find updates from their favorite sports teams, hobbies, local officials, and more. Users can join channels through invite links shared in chats, emails, or online posts.

WhatsApp emphasizes privacy and safety in Channels. Admins’ phone numbers and profile photos are not revealed to followers, and following a channel does not disclose users’ phone numbers to the admin or other followers. Users have control over whom they choose to follow, and the content remains private.

Channel updates are not stored indefinitely. WhatsApp retains channel history on its servers for up to 30 days, with options to make updates disappear even faster from followers’ devices. Admins can also block screenshots and forwards from their channels. They have the flexibility to determine who can follow their channel and whether it should be discoverable in the directory.

While Channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default due to the aim of reaching a wide audience, WhatsApp is considering end-to-end encryption for limited-audience channels, such as those for nonprofit or health organizations, in the future.

WhatsApp Channels is initially launching in Singapore and Colombia, with plans for gradual expansion to other countries. The feature supports WhatsApp Payments, although specific details about its integration are not provided. WhatsApp also sees an opportunity for admins to build businesses around their channels using payment services and the ability to promote channels in the directory for increased awareness.

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