As WhatsApp Channels begins global roll-out, here's what you need to know

The one-way broadcasting service is gradually being introduced in the UAE

Meta ensures that WhatsApp Channels is private and that personal information is protected. PA
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Meta has begun its global roll-out of WhatsApp Channels, with the feature gradually becoming available to users in the region, including the UAE.

The one-way broadcasting service on WhatsApp lets admins send their followers photos, video, texts, stickers and polls. The feature offers a novel way for WhatsApp users to follow news, cultural figures, sports teams, celebrities and more.

Meta, the technology company that owns several social media platforms including Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram, ensures that the service is private and that the personal information of both admins and followers is protected.

“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 said.

WhatsApp Channels can be accessed through the new Updates tab on the bottom of the screen. A directory will let users browse through channels that are automatically curated based on their country. There are also options to view channels based on popularity or those that have been newly created or are the most active.

How do I join and use Channels?

Users can react to messages using emojis to send feedback to admin. There will also be an option to forward an “update” to people in your contacts. The forwards will include a link to the channel.

Admins will have significant control of their channels, such as deciding who can follow them or whether the channel appears in the directory. They can also choose to block screenshots and forwards from their channel.

WhatsApp Channel content will not be accessible indefinitely. Meta said channel history will be stored on servers for up to 30 days.

The National has also launched its dedicated WhatsApp Channel. Followers can get the latest breaking news, as well as updates from business, arts, lifestyle and sport.

Updated: September 14, 2023, 12:09 PM