WhatsApp has recently unveiled a new feature called Channels, which aims to provide users with a simple, reliable, and private way to receive important updates from individuals and organizations directly within the app. With Channels, WhatsApp users can now stay informed about their interests and receive updates from their preferred sources in a convenient and secure manner.

Channels will be housed in a dedicated tab called “Updates,” alongside the existing Status feature. This separation ensures that users can easily distinguish between their personal chats with friends and family, and the updates they receive from channels they choose to follow. Admins of these channels will be able to send various types of content, including text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls, allowing for engaging and interactive updates.

To facilitate the process of discovering and selecting channels, WhatsApp is developing a searchable directory. This directory will feature a diverse range of options, spanning hobbies, sports teams, and updates from local officials, making it effortless for users to find and connect with sources that align with their interests. Furthermore, channels can be accessed through invite links shared in chats, emails, or posted online, ensuring seamless integration into users’ existing communication channels.


Channel admins’ phone numbers and profile photos will remain concealed from their followers. Likewise, followers’ phone numbers will not be disclosed to channel admins or other followers. WhatsApp emphasizes that the decision to follow a particular channel is entirely private and under the user’s control.

Unlike traditional messaging, channel updates will not be stored indefinitely. WhatsApp will retain channel history on its servers for a maximum of 30 days, with plans to introduce features that expedite the removal of updates from followers’ devices. Additionally, admins will have the option to block screenshots and forwards from their channels, giving them greater control over the dissemination of their content.

WhatsApp will allow admins to determine who can follow their channels and whether their channels should be discoverable in the directory. While end-to-end encryption is not enabled by default for channels, WhatsApp is actively exploring the possibility of implementing it for channels with a limited audience, such as those operated by non-profit organizations or healthcare institutions.

The rollout of Channels will commence with a collaboration between WhatsApp and prominent global voices, as well as select organizations in Colombia and Singapore. This initial phase will serve as a valuable learning experience, enabling WhatsApp to fine-tune and improve the Channels feature based on user feedback. Over the coming months, Channels will be introduced to additional countries, eventually allowing anyone to create a channel.

“The Singapore Heart Foundation is delighted to partner with WhatsApp on the launch of Channels. As a social service agency with a lean workforce, we will leverage Channels to generate more awareness towards our Prevention, Rehabilitation and Resuscitation programmes. This partnership will support us in our battle against cardiovascular disease in Singapore.

“We recognise the increasing difficulty to convey important and accurate heart health information and news to the public, and Channels will be an important part of SHF’s comprehensive communication strategy to deliver timely heart news and engage the public in the programmes/events we run year-round. We hope that users who follow us will gain credible health tips that can potentially be lifesaving.”

Lim Kiat, Senior Manager, Programmes, Singapore Heart Foundation

WhatsApp also sees Channels as an opportunity to support channel admins in developing their businesses. This will be accomplished through the integration of WhatsApp’s expanding payment services and by enabling the promotion of specific channels in the directory, thereby increasing their visibility and reach.

While introducing Channels, WhatsApp remains committed to preserving the privacy and security of its users’ private messaging experience. The company also emphasised that its core functionality of WhatsApp, centered around private messaging among friends, family, and communities, will continue to be the primary focus.

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