WhatsApp launches “Channels” equal to Telegram to send mass messages

by Jerry

WhatsApp announced on Thursday (8) a new feature called “Channels”. The feature is designed to allow people and businesses to send messages to an unlimited number of members, in a similar way to what Telegram already offers.

WhatsApp channels will be accessible in a new dedicated tab called “Updates,” separate from the usual conversations and Communities. Channel admins will be able to share texts, photos, videos, stickers and polls with their followers.

WhatsApp also plans to launch a searchable channel directory to make it easier for users to find and follow channels that interest them. This feature should work similarly to Telegram’s global search, but restricted to channels.

In the future, WhatsApp intends to offer tools that should generate revenue for the company: administrators will be able to promote their channels to help increase the awareness of a business, or create integrations with WhatsApp Pay. There are no details yet of how this will work.

WhatsApp promises privacy, but Channels don’t have end-to-end encryption
Privacy has been a bright spot for WhatsApp, and the company underscored this in its official statement. The admins’ phone number and profile picture won’t be displayed to followers, and similarly, following a channel won’t reveal the user’s phone number to the admin or other followers.

However, end-to-end encryption, a key differentiator of WhatsApp, has been left out in the new feature. It will continue to be present in all private conversations, including groups, but not in channels—at least initially.

“Because the goal of channels is to reach a broad audience, they are not protected with end-to-end encryption by default. We understand that there are some cases where channels with this protection for a limited audience might make sense, such as a healthcare organization or nonprofit, and we are considering this as a future option as well,” WhatsApp explains.

Still, channel administrators will have some controls: You’ll be able to block screenshots and message forwards. In addition, the history of the channels will be kept on WhatsApp’s servers for only 30 days, and there will be the possibility to create self-destructible messages in the future.

Initially, the channels will be available in Colombia and Singapore. Other countries will receive the feature “in the coming months.”

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