WhatsApp Expands ‘Channels’ Offering Globally

WhatsApp channels
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WhatsApp channels
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Photo Credit: WhatsApp

WhatsApp is rolling out its Telegram-like Channels to more users, expanding the broadcasting feature to more than 150 countries.

The Meta-owned messaging app WhatsApp has announced the rollout of its new Channels feature to more users across more than 150 countries. While the company first introduced the feature in June, it was initially only available to select organizations in specific countries.

WhatsApp’s Channels feature lets you receive one-to-many updates from creators, brands, and organizations, just like the same-name feature on the Telegram messaging app and a similar feature on Instagram called broadcast channels.

In addition to the broader rollout, WhatsApp will add a few quality-of-life enhancements to Channels, including an enhanced directory with the ability to filter by country and sort by new, popular, and most active channels. Users can react to posts within channels using emojis, and creators running channels will be able to edit their updates for up to 30 days.

Many new channels have recently been added to the platform, including Olivia Rodrigo, Mark Zuckerberg, and the MLB. WhatsApp says it will continue adding more features as it receives feedback from users, and the platform will be expanded to general use “in the coming months” so that any user can create a channel.

Meanwhile, amidst changes implemented due to the new European Union regulatory framework the Digital Markets Act (DMA), WhatsApp was recently revealed to be in the developing stages of third-party chat implementation.

Eventually, WhatsApp will allow users to open a dedicated menu to see incoming messages from people using other messaging apps — efforts to mitigate gatekeeping by the six companies the EU named as requiring changes to encourage fair competition: Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Apple, ByteDance (TikTok), Meta (Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp), and Microsoft.

Last year, the EU said that interoperability for messaging platforms (such as WhatsApp and Messenger) was a key requirement for those services from gatekeeping entities. These changes will enable users of other messaging apps, such as Signal, Snapchat, or Telegram, to send messages to WhatsApp and Messenger users without creating a WhatsApp or Messenger account.

Given that the cross-platform integration results from changes required by the EU, whether these messaging interoperability changes will expand to the US or other countries remains to be seen.