WhatsApp adds Twitter-like functionality to follow with new ‘channel’ feature | Tech News

WhatsApp is adding a Twitter-like feature to follow accounts outside of your personal contacts.

The new features will be in a new section of the app called “Updates,” separate from your existing private chats and similar to news feeds on other social media platforms.

Instead of adding contacts by phone number, users can search for people and organizations they might like to follow — including sports teams, government officials, and accounts dedicated to hobbies and interests.

Owners of following pages, known as “channels,” can also invite people to join using direct links.

whatsapp owner Yuan explain Premier League champions Manchester City and the World Health Organization have both signed up – eventually anyone can start their own channel.

Posts from channels can include text, photos, videos, and polls, and will appear in a new Updates tab alongside status updates, which people can post for contacts to see.

Channels look a lot like regular WhatsApp chats when you click Updates on your feed — you just can’t reply to messages.

What happened to “private message”?

Meta describes the channel as a “private broadcast service,” with page owners and followers hiding their phone numbers and profile pictures. Channels can also choose not to be found through search.

Updates are only stored on Meta’s servers for up to 30 days, after which they disappear.

However, channels will not have the same end-to-end encryption as WhatsApp chats.

If the channel’s goal is to reach a broad audience, then this particular guarantee of privacy — preventing anyone outside the chat from accessing its messages — doesn’t have the same appeal, Meta said.

It said it might consider adding end-to-end encryption to certain channels under specific circumstances.

“We do believe that in some cases an end-to-end encrypted channel to a limited audience may make sense, such as non-profit or health organizations, and we are exploring this as a future option,” the company added.

While most of the channel’s functionality sounds similar to earlier Facebook and TwitterMeta also insisted that private messaging will remain a “top priority” for WhatsApp.

The company has revealed that it is working on A new Twitter-like platform for text-based updates.

The channel will initially launch in Colombia and Singapore, and will roll out to other countries, including the UK, in the “coming months”.

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