With an announcement made, as often happens in these cases, by Mark Zuckerberg himselfWhatsApp has confirmed the arrival of Channels, described as “an easy, reliable and private way to receive important updates from people and organizations” directly in the app.
As explained, the Channels will have a dedicated tab, which is called Updates and should replace the current Status: inside you will find the statuses of the people you have in your address book and the updates of the followed Channels.
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Like broadcast lists with texts, photos and videos
The Channels will initially only be available in Colombia and Singapore, but “in the coming months we will bring the Channels to other countries” and “we will give anyone the opportunity to create one”.
As you may understand, the Channels are practically liste broadcastone-way spaces where people and organizations (that is, administrators) will be able to publish and share texts, photos, videos, stickers and surveys (which are done like this on WhatsApp).
The idea is to create an environment where people, who will be able to choose the Channels to subscribe to (admins will not be able to add followers to their channel), receive information about their hobbies, sporting events and favorite team, as well as local authority updates and news. They can be done keyword searchesto find the topics of your interest, and also access a channel via the invitation links sent in chats, emails or published online.
Attention to privacy
From WhatsApp they explained that they had been particularly attentive to the protection of personal information of both administrators and their followers: the admin’s phone number and photo will not be shown to the followers and vice versa the admins will not have access to the followers’ phone numbers.
Again: the company will keep the archive and the history of each channel for up to 30 days on their own servers, and admins will have the ability to block the ability to screenshot and forward content from their channel. Initially, “to allow reaching the largest possible number of people”, the Channels will not be protected by crittografia end-to-endbut “we are thinking about allowing this functionality in the future”.
The Channels, which in WhatsApp’s intentions could also be one source of income for directors, are “among the things that users have asked us the most in recent years” and “we think the time has finally come to satisfy them”. In Colombia and Singapore, the company has established partnerships with fact-checker Colombia Check and the Singapore Heart Foundation, as well as WHO, Barcelona and Manchester City, all of which will have their own specific channel.