WhatsApp Channels, the broadcasting feature that lets organisations and public personalities send updates to their followers on the messaging platform, is getting a host of new tools. Channels will soon receive a polling feature, voice notes and the ability to share Channel updates to Status. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new Channel features Wednesday on his own WhatsApp Channel, showcasing the new polling function to his followers. WhatsApp rolled out the Channels feature, which works as a one-way broadcasting tool, last year. With regular updates from sports teams, organisations and public figures, Channels is aimed at increasing engagement on the Meta-owned messaging platform.
The new updates aim to bring more engagement to Channels, with Channel admins getting the ability to send out polls to members. Polls have existed for a while now on regular and group chats on WhatsApp. Channel admins will now also be able to send out updates in the form of voice notes, thus engaging the audience in a more direct and personal manner.
Channels got some updates 🆕 here’s what you can expect to see soon 👇
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) January 17, 2024
Additionally, WhatsApp Channel updates can now also be shared on Status. This can be done by long pressing the Channel update that a user wants to share, selecting ‘Forward,’ and then selecting ‘My Status.’ And finally, the new updates also include the ability to add multiple admins for a particular Channel.
Channels, which primarily serve as a one-way communication tool, has received updates since launch that aim to bring more engagement and interactivity. WhatsApp Channels reportedly rolled out a beta update in November 2023 that allows Channel admins to share Stickers with their followers. The same month, the platform was first seen working on the ability to share polls in Channels.
WhatsApp rolled out the Channels feature initially in June last year, with Meta describing it as “a simple, reliable, and private way to receive important updates from people and organisations, right within WhatsApp” at launch. The broadcasting tool was later rolled out in 150 countries, including India, with support for directory search and reactions in September. Meta also partnered with popular sports teams like the Indian Cricket team and public figures like Diljit Dosanjh and Katrina Kaif to create dedicated Channels providing regular updates on the app.
Channels has grown to become a popular feature in a short time. According to WhatsApp, more than 2 billion people use the messaging service globally. WhatsApp Channels, on the other hand, crossed 500 million monthly active users within the first seven weeks of its launch, Zuckerberg had claimed in a Channels message last year.