Those responsible for WhatsApp have introduced a new and important function for the service. It’s about the calls Canalesa simple and private way to receive news from both individuals and organizations directly through WhatsApp.
This feature is found within a new tab called “News”, where users will be able to find both the statuses and the channels they decide to follow, thus separating them from the traditional chats they have with family, friends or communities.
Unlike those conventional chats, channels are a one-way communication tool: the administrators of these channels are the ones who send content —text, photos, videos, stickers, surveys—, and the user who consumes them.
There will be a directory with a search function where it will be possible to find the content that we want to follow —hobbies, sports teams, news, practical content such as recipes, and a very long etcetera—, and it will also be possible to access a channel from invitation links. Here the operation is very similar to that of the Telegram channels which, yes, are more bidirectional.
In WhatsApp Channels there are other important differences with respect to chats: privacy is protected. So, Your phone number or profile picture is not displayed from administrators to followers, and the administrator will also not be able to know the phone number of his followers. You decide who to follow and that choice is private.
Channel message logging is limited to a maximum of 30 days, but there will be an option to delete that history even earlier. Administrators will also be able to block options to take screenshots or forward content from the channel. Those administrators will have other interesting options, such as being able to decide who follows their channel and if they want their channel to be visible in the directory or not.
Unlike conventional chats, WhatsApp Channels do not encrypt end-to-end information by default. Even so, they explain in the company, “we believe that there are some cases in which end-to-end encrypted channels for a limited audience could make sense, such as a non-profit or health organization, so we are also exploring this option for the future.
Admins will also have an option to build a business around their channel through WhatsApp’s extended paid services, as well as promote certain channels in the directory to increase channel awareness.
WhatsApp Channels will initially be available in Colombia and Singapore, where Meta has started a collaboration with leaders and organizations to deploy this “pilot” of this new option. From there the deployment in other countries will take place “in the coming months”and they will allow anyone to create a channel.
In Xataka | The great success of LuzIA: how a Spanish chatbot for WhatsApp already exceeds one million users