WhatsApp is one of the most popular messaging apps in the world, with more than 2 billion users. It allows us to chat, call, and share media with our contacts, as well as join groups and broadcast lists. But did you know that WhatsApp is also working on a new feature for channels, which will let you follow your favorite teams, hobbies, celebrities, and more?
In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about WhatsApp channels, how they work, what are the benefits and challenges, and when they will be available. We will also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about this feature. So, let’s get started!
What are WhatsApp channels?
WhatsApp channels are a new feature that WhatsApp is launching globally, after testing it in some countries since June 2023. Channels are a one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers, and polls to their followers, who can view them in a separate tab called Updates. Followers can also share channel posts via Status updates, but they cannot reply or comment on them.
Unlike groups and broadcast lists, which are two-way communication tools that let people communicate with one another, channels are one-way only. Channels are designed to facilitate one-to-many communication between administrators and their followers, who are only able to access the updates, news, tips, and promotions that are shared.
Additionally, channels are not the same as status updates, which are transient entries that vanish after a day. Channels are long-term posts that are automatically removed after 30 days of being visible on the Updates tab.
How do WhatsApp channels work?
To create a channel, you need to have a WhatsApp business account, which is a special type of account that allows you to create a business profile, catalog, and labels for your customers. You can create a channel from the WhatsApp Business app, or from the WhatsApp Web or Desktop app, by clicking on the New Channel icon.
Groups and broadcast lists, which are two-way communication mechanisms that let drug users communicate with one another, are not the same as channels. Admins can share updates, news, tips, and elevations with their followers via channels designed for one-to-many communication, but their followers can only see them. Additionally, status updates—deciduous entries that disappear after a day—do not correspond with channels.
Channels are endless posts that stay in the Updates tab for 30 days, after which they’re automatically deleted.
What are the benefits of WhatsApp channels?
WhatsApp channels have many benefits, both for admins and followers. Some of the benefits are:
- For admins:
- They can reach a large and global audience, as WhatsApp has more than 2 billion users in more than 180 countries.
- They can share their content in a simple and secure way, as WhatsApp uses end-to-end encryption to protect their data and privacy.
- They can interact with their followers in a new and engaging way, by using voice notes and polls, which are two new features that WhatsApp is introducing for channels.
- They can build a business around their channel, by using WhatsApp’s payment services, and by promoting their channel in the directory, which is a searchable list of channels that users can explore and follow.
- For followers:
- They can follow their interests and passions, as they can find channels for their favorite teams, hobbies, celebrities, and more.
- They can stay updated and informed, as they can receive the latest updates, news, tips, or promotions from the admins, who are experts or authorities in their fields.
- They can enjoy a private and personalized experience, as they can choose which channels to follow, and how to view and share their posts, without revealing their phone number or profile photo to the admins or other followers.
What are the challenges of WhatsApp channels?
WhatsApp channels also have some challenges, both for admins and followers. Some of the challenges are:
- For admins:
- They need to create quality and relevant content, as they need to attract and retain their followers, and compete with other channels in the same niche or category.
- They need to follow the rules and regulations, as they need to respect the terms and conditions of WhatsApp, and the laws and norms of the countries where they operate.
- They need to deal with feedback and criticism, as they need to handle the comments, reviews, and ratings of their followers, and the reports, complaints, and bans of WhatsApp or the authorities.
- For followers:
- They need to be careful and selective, as they need to avoid channels that are low-quality, fake, misleading, or harmful, and check the authenticity, validity, and reliability of the content.
- They need to be vigilant and cautious, as they need to protect their data and privacy, and avoid channels that are fraudulent, deceptive, or illegal, and report them to WhatsApp or the authorities.
- They need to be balanced and moderate, as they need to limit their time and frequency of using WhatsApp for channels, and avoid distraction, addiction, or information overload.
When will WhatsApp channels be available?
WhatsApp channels are already available in some countries, such as Colombia, Singapore, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Mexico, and Nigeria, where WhatsApp has tested and launched the feature since June 2023. WhatsApp has announced that it is expanding the feature to more than 150 countries, starting from September 2023. However, the exact date and availability may vary depending on your location and device.
Open the WhatsApp app and search for the Updates tab, which is located adjacent to the Chats tab, to see whether you can access any WhatsApp channels. You can access and follow channels if you see the Updates tab. The Updates tab may not be visible to you, which indicates that the feature is not currently accessible to you, but it could be soon.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about WhatsApp channels, and the answers to them:
- How can I create a WhatsApp channel?
- You can create a WhatsApp channel from the WhatsApp Business app, or from the WhatsApp Web or Desktop app, by clicking on the New Channel icon, which is next to the New Chat icon. You can then choose a name, a description, a category, and a profile photo for your channel, and start adding posts.
- How can I follow a WhatsApp channel?
- You can follow a WhatsApp channel from the WhatsApp app, by clicking on the Updates tab, and then on the Explore icon, which is a magnifying glass. You can then search for channels by name, category, or keyword, and follow the ones that interest you. You can also follow a channel by scanning a QR code, or by clicking on a link that the admin shares with you.
- How can I unfollow, mute, block, or report a WhatsApp channel?
- You can unfollow, mute, block, or report a WhatsApp channel from the WhatsApp app, by clicking on the Updates tab, and then on the channel that you want to manage. You can then click on the three-dot menu icon, which is on the top right corner, and choose the option that you want, such as Unfollow, Mute, Block, or Report.
- How can I share a WhatsApp channel post via Status update?
- You can share a WhatsApp channel post via Status update from the WhatsApp app, by clicking on the Updates tab, and then on the channel post that you want to share. You can then click on the share icon, which is on the bottom right corner, and choose the option of Share to Status. You can then add a caption, a sticker, or a drawing, and click on the send icon, which is a paper plane.
- How can I find out more about WhatsApp channels?
- You can find out more about WhatsApp channels by visiting the official website of WhatsApp, which is https://www.whatsapp.com/channels, where you can find more information, tips, and FAQs about the feature. You can also follow the official WhatsApp channel, which is @WhatsApp, where you can get the latest updates, news, and announcements about the feature.