Today, Meta announced that WhatsApp will start rolling out the channels feature globally in the coming weeks, starting with India, after a limited launch in Colombia and Singapore in June this year that expanded to other countries in July. The feature, which will exist in a separate tab and is intended to be a broadcast channel for businesses or pages that can share updates with many users.
The initial launch of channels only allows users subscribed to channels to only view posts, however, It A wider rollout now adds some new features like chat-like emoji responses, as well as sorting and filtering available channels based on country. Admins also get new features like updating posts within a 30-day window, before the post is deleted from WhatsApp’s servers.
Currently, Meta reports that there are now “thousands” of channels on the platform, but users are currently unable to create their own. Meta has stated that it will open channel creation access to everyone in the future, but has yet to specify an exact launch date. Channels is a key area of development for Meta with reported updates to formats coming that should further increase the platform’s viability as a communication channel for businesses and pages.
With recent updates to the WhatsApp beta preparing to add support for third-party chat clients outside of WhatsApp directly, this may also extend to the ability to send messages to WhatsApp users via channels from other apps, which can schedule posts or be more complex business tools for managing media pages socially. In addition, with support for multiple accounts integrated into WhatsApp, it allows users who manage businesses or pages to switch between a personal or business profile on the same device.