- WhatsApp has introduced a new feature called Channels, which allows brands, celebrities and other organizations to reach a wider audience with one-to-many messages.
- While initially limited to a few countries, the channels will be available to almost everyone by September 19, WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart said.
- The design and functionality of the channel encourages interaction with features such as emoji reactions and the ability to forward messages to individual and group chats. Future releases of user-created channels are also expected.
In the encrypted messaging app space, WhatsApp has stood out with its consistent feature additions that seem to be dropping every other day. Yet, with its vast user base, there were still areas where competitors like Telegram and Discord held the edge. This started to change when Meta introduced the Channels feature for WhatsApp and took a significant step forward in its broadcasting capabilities.
Originally piloted in Colombia and Singapore, the channel has grown from its limited availability to now be accessible in 150 countries. Essentially, channels offer a one-to-many messaging format, for brands, celebrities and a range of other organizations that want to deliver updates to a wider audience. For now, though not everyone can start a channel, users in 150 nations will be able to follow and interact with them.
Despite this impressive rollout, the feature’s universality was questioned, with many users still lacking access to Meta after its announcement. Fortunately, there is an update on that front. As reported by WABetaInfo At X, WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart announced that the channels “will be available to almost everyone by the end of tomorrow!” This should end the advance wait and ensure that the vast majority of users will have access to this transformative feature by September 19.
The design and functionality of the channel is indicative of WhatsApp’s effort towards being more interactive. Users can now tap and hold updates in channels to react with emojis, providing a familiar mechanism similar to regular chats on the platform. Furthermore, message forwarding from channels to individual and group chats is also available, increasing the feature’s discoverability and potentially driving its wider adoption.
Differentiating between regular chats and channels has become convenient, as WhatsApp has created a separate section for the latter. By default, channels are filtered by country, prioritizing content from the user’s area, but they also provide ample customization features such as filtering by novelty or followers.
However, the channels don’t stop there. Future improvements, as promised by WhatsApp, are on the horizon, including the long-awaited ability for users to create their own channels. While some users have already received this capability, the general audience will have to wait a little longer, as its wider release is planned for the coming months.
WhatsApp channels are set to shape the way users interact with the platform. With global availability and more functionality on the way, WhatsApp is looking to further strengthen its position as a leading messaging app.