Mark Zuckerberg launches WhatsApp Channels, a one-way broadcast tool

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WhatsApp Channels

Channels is a private way to follow people and organizations right within WhatsApp which will be available in Singapore and Colombia for now.

Today, Mark Zuckerberg announced the launch of WhatsApp Channels: a simple and private way to receive important updates from people and organizations, right within WhatsApp. 

Mark Zuckerberg, in a post, said, “Today we're announcing WhatsApp Channels -- a private way to follow people and organizations that matter to you, right within WhatsApp. We are starting in Singapore and Colombia, but will roll out to everyone later this year. We're building Channels to be the most private way to communicate.

As a channel admin, your phone number won't be shown to followers, and following a channel won't show that to the admin or others following the channel either. One of WhatsApp's core principles is to not store your messages. That's why channel updates will only be available for 30 days with no permanent record. We're just getting started with Channels. And I can't wait to bring this to everyone later this year.” 

The platform is building Channels in a new tab called Updates - where you’ll find Status and channels you choose to follow - separate from your chats with family, friends, and communities. 

Channels are a one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls. To help select channels to follow, they are building a searchable directory where you can find your hobbies, sports teams, updates from local officials, and more. You can also get to a channel from invite links sent in chats, e-mail, or posted online.

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As a channel admin, your phone number and profile photo won’t be shown to followers. Likewise, following a channel won’t reveal your phone number to the admin or other followers. Who you decide to follow is your choice and it’s private. 

The channel history will be stored on the servers for up to 30 days as of now. Admins will also have the option to block screenshots and forwards from their channels. 

Lastly, admins will get to decide who can follow their channel and whether they want their channel to be discoverable in the directory or not. Given the aim of Channels is to reach a wide audience, channels are not end-to-end encrypted by default.

WhatsApp will work with global voices and select organizations in Colombia and Singapore, where Channels will first be available, to build, learn, and adapt the experience. It will be available to more countries over the coming months.  

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