Meta introduces new Channels broadcasting software for WhatsApp

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Meta plans to launch a new sending feature called Channels for its WhatsApp messaging service.

The social networking giant said Thursday that the new Channels feature resembles a “private broadcast service” where people and organizations can send messages and updates to followers that are separate from the way WhatsApp users communicate interpersonally are.

Admins who oversee a WhatsApp channel can send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to their followers, but they cannot reply to the messages. Channel admins are not allowed to add followers to their channels. This will keep messages for 30 days before deleting them.

Unlike more traditional WhatsApp messages, channels will not use end-to-end encryption so they can “reach a wide audience,” WhatsApp said in a blog post. WhatsApp added that in the future it could potentially introduce end-to-end encrypted channels for groups like nonprofits or healthcare organizations that want to make their communications more secure.

WhatsApp users will eventually be able to find channels they want to join in a searchable directory. They can access the channels they follow from a new Updates tab. WhatsApp said the tab is “separate from your chats with family, friends and communities”.

WhatsApp said it is working with various groups, including the Singapore Heart Foundation and nonprofit Colombia Check, to launch channels first in Colombia and Singapore, before a broader rollout in other countries later this year.

WhatsApp plans to eventually allow anyone to create a WhatsApp channel alongside its current launch partners, which also include the International Rescue Committee and the World Health Organization.

Meta, then Facebook, acquired WhatsApp in 2014 for $19 billion.

Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently told CNBC’s Jim Cramer that WhatsApp will be the “next chapter” for the social networking company and represents an opportunity for Meta to build a lucrative business aligned with Instagram and the core Facebook app is comparable.

Though Meta generates the majority of its billions of dollars in annual revenue from online advertising, it has so far avoided adding ads to WhatsApp, much like it does on Facebook and Instagram. Instead, Meta is pushing business messaging capabilities as a way to monetize WhatsApp, hoping to give businesses more compelling ways to interact with users.

In fact, Meta said in the blog post that the company believes “there is a way to help admins build a business around their channel using our expanding payment services and promote specific channels in the directory to help raise awareness.” to sharpen.”

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