WhatsApp announced today that it is expanding its Channels feature, aimed towards broadcasted messages, globally. The company said Channels will be available to all users in more than 150 countries over the next few weeks.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the roll out of the feature on his new WhatsApp channel.
“Excited to introduce you all to WhatsApp Channels, a new private way for you to get updates from people and organizations you follow. I’m starting this channel to share Meta news and updates,” he said.
In June, Meta first introduced Channels on WhatsApp to users in Colombia and Singapore. Later, it expanded this feature to seven more countries in July.
The Channels feature lives in a separate tab on the app, and others won’t be able to see the channels you follow. Additionally, personal information of your account such as your phone number won’t be visible to admins or followers.
While the primary feature of a channel remains one-to-many communication through broadcast messages, the company is bringing new features such as the ability to react with emoji as well. Users will be able to see the total count of reactions under the message.
With the global launch, WhatsApp will have an improved directory to find channels based on your country. You can sort this list by new, most active, and most popular. When users forward and update from a channel to a group or an individual, it will include a link back to the channel.
For admins, WhatsApp is introducing the ability to edit a message for up to 30 days. The chat app also allows you to edit messages to individuals or groups but with a 15-minute window.
Notably, Meta is still restricting the ability to create a channel to select individuals or organizations. The company said that it is planning to eventually allow everyone to create a channel.
The company said that notable additions to channels with the global launch are Olivia Rodrigo, David Guetta, Billboard, MLB, and of course, Zuck. While WhatsApp didn’t provide of exact number of channels available on the platform it said there are now “thousands” of them. WhatsApp also has its own channel to communicate about the app’s features.
In June, Meta rolled out the Channels feature on Instagram globally, which is aimed at connecting creators with fans in a one-to-many communication channel.
Over the last year, WhatsApp has experimented with features catering to different sizes of groups. Last November, the company launched Communities to facilitate multi-group communication for places like schools, resident complexes, or clubs. Last month, WhatsApp launched a feature to let you create groups without naming them with a cap of six people.