Three months after its debut, WhatsApp’s Channels feature is going global.
The Meta-owned messaging platform announced Wednesday (Sept. 13) that Channels, a one-way broadcasting tool that appeared in June, will be rolling out in 150 countries.
“We’re welcoming thousands of organizations, sports teams, artists and thought leaders that people can follow, right within WhatsApp,” Meta wrote in a blog post. “If you’re new to Channels, our goal is to build the most private broadcast service available. Channels are separate from your chats, and who you choose to follow is not visible to other followers. We also protect the personal information of both admins and followers.”
WhatsApp initially debuted Channels in 10 countries, offering users “a one-way broadcast tool for admins to send text, photos, videos, stickers and polls,” the company said in June.
Among the new countries where Channels is being added is India, the world’s most populous nation and home to WhatsApp’s largest customer base. Users can now follow that country’s cricket team, Meta said in a separate blog post.
“Our goal is to build the most private broadcast service available,” Meta said in the separate post. “This starts by protecting the personal information of both admins and followers. 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.”
Meta has been focusing on WhatsApp as it seeks revenue streams to offset the losses it has suffered as it pursues its metaverse efforts.
“We continue to be excited about the monetization opportunity with business messaging too,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during an earnings call in February, pointing out that messaging will become a significant business pillar in the coming years.
WhatsApp announced in late June that WhatsApp Business had more than 200 million active users, up from 50 million six months after its 2020 launch.
Meanwhile, Meta is revamping WhatsApp to comply with new European regulations, reportedly developing a beta version of the app that includes a new screen for third-party chats.