Following Telegram’s introduction of the Channels feature, its primary competitor, WhatsApp, is now introducing Channels in 150 countries. With WhatsApp Channels, users can disseminate updates or information to a broader WhatsApp audience. They can also locate specific channels through a directory and engage with messages posted by channel owners.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of WhatsApp Channels through his own channel. Users can join the official WhatsApp Channel to stay informed about the latest platform updates. WhatsApp users have the ability to filter channels in the directory and join those with the most followers or the most active engagement, among other criteria.
It’s important to note that WhatsApp users can only join a channel via a valid invitation link, and the phone number of the channel owner remains private to protect user privacy.
Messages sent via WhatsApp Channels will remain accessible for 30 days, and while channel members can react to shared messages, they cannot respond to them. Furthermore, messages broadcasted in the channel do not have end-to-end encryption. To promote this feature, WhatsApp has partnered with celebrities who already have a presence on WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has also introduced more emoji-based reaction features for users. However, the platform will not display reactions from other followers; instead, others can see the quantity and type of reactions. The rollout of WhatsApp Channels is gradual, with availability to all users expected in the coming months.