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WhatsApp debuts broadcast tool Channels, top celebs join

New Delhi: Meta Platforms-owned instant messaging service WhatsApp has announced the launch of WhatsApp Channels in India and over 150 countries that will deliver private updates from organizations, sports teams, artists, and thought leaders that people can follow. WhatsApp Channels are a one-way broadcast tool within the app, the company said in a statement.

“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. Looking forward to connecting with you all around the world,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post. Channels can be found in the new ‘Updates’ tab, he added.

With channels, WhatsApp’s goal is to build the most private broadcast service available, the company statement said. Channels are separate from chats, and who you choose to follow is not visible to other followers.

“We also protect the personal information of both admins and followers,” the statement said.

As channels expand globally, the platform will roll out an enhanced directory where users find channels to follow that are automatically filtered based on their country. They can also view channels that are new, most active, and popular based on number of followers. Users will be able to react using emojis to give feedback and see a count of total reactions and reactions will not be shown to followers.

Admins will be able to make changes to their Updates for up to 30 days, when they are automatically deleted from servers. Forwarding an Update to chats or groups will include a link back to the channel so people can find out more.

As WhatsApp Channels roll out globally over the next few weeks, more features will be added based on feedback from users. Over the coming months, it will be possible for anyone to create a channel.

The Indian cricket team and celebrities like Katrina Kaif, Diljit Dosanjh, Akshay Kumar, Vijay Deverakonda, Neha Kakkar and others have launched their WhatsApp Channels.

“The Indian Cricket team is thrilled to partner with WhatsApp on the launch of channels. We kick-off our partnership with WhatsApp with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 which is set to begin in October. We will leverage channels to generate excitement and support as India gets ready to host the marquee event after a decade-long wait. With WhatsApp Channels, fans will be aware of important and accurate information and news around match schedules, timings, scorecards and so on,” BCCI (the Board of Control for Cricket in India) said in a statement.

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Updated: 13 Sep 2023, 10:46 PM IST

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