WhatsApp is developing a new channel feature for the iOS beta version, as stated in Wabetainfo. The company said that channels will help users to receive useful updates from people they choose to get news from.

As seen in the screenshot, WhatsApp plans to rename the Status tab to “Updates” as channels will be listed within this section of the app.

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WhatsApp Channel is a private tool where phone numbers and user information joining a channel are always kept hidden. However, messages received within a channel are not end-to-end encrypted since the concept of one-to-many would not make much sense for channels. WhatsApp also mentioned that the channels feature will not affect the end-to-end encryption of private messaging, and would stay end-to-end encrypted.

Meta-backed instant messaging app WhatsApp also said that it is an optional extension to private messages and does not pivot to a public social network, people will always have control over which channels they want to subscribe to, and no one else can see whom they follow, regardless of whether they’ve added them as contacts or not.

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In addition, people will not get auto-subscribed to channels automatically as there are no algorithmic recommendations or social graphs pushing content to users that they did not choose to see. Channels will also support handles with which users can search for a particular channel by entering just the name.