Building Private, Safe, and Secure WhatsApp Channels

Channels are a simple, reliable, and private way to receive important updates on the topics you care about from people and organizations, right within WhatsApp. Anyone can choose to follow a channel by browsing and following the channels they’re interested in. To help make Channels a great experience for users, with the privacy, safety, and security that they expect from WhatsApp, we set out to build Channels thoughtfully with several key principles in mind:

Be the most private broadcast service

We’re aspiring to build the most private broadcast service available. Our privacy approach allows users to follow channels without sharing their phone number to any new people that are not in their contacts. Users can choose channels with the confidence that other users won’t see the channels they choose to follow or be able to contact them through a channel. And, anyone can create a channel without revealing their phone number or profile photo to those who choose to follow it.

Give users choice and control over the information they receive

WhatsApp users have full choice and control over their Channels experience. If a user decides not to follow any channels, their existing WhatsApp experience will remain the same. Users can’t be added to a channel without choosing to follow it and they will only see updates for the channels they choose. WhatsApp will not recommend channels based on users’ personal messaging activity, which remains private and end-to-end encrypted. It’s also simple for users to unfollow a channel at any point.

Keep the experience simple and clutter-free

We’ve designed Channels to be simple and clutter-free for users. For example, channel notifications are muted by default to limit information overload, while also giving users the option to turn on notifications for those updates that they don’t want to miss. We’ll show a limited history of each channel before a user follows it, so that users can make an informed choice about whether they want to follow the channel. Channel updates show up in chronological order to make it easier for users to go back to find an update they’re looking for.

Prevent and address abuse

We are providing tools and resources for Channel admins to safely and effectively manage their channels, and for users to easily unfollow and report problematic channels. As the owners of their channels, admins are responsible for maintaining an age-appropriate and safe experience for their followers. We’ve published guidelines for Channel admins to understand what isn’t allowed on their channel. Channels will be reviewed against these Guidelines, and those engaged in abuse may be subject to suspension or other action. We’ll also continue to receive and be responsive to valid legal orders from authorities in countries where we operate.
WhatsApp will continue to build support for Channel admins and followers and, as always, we will continue to listen closely to feedback from users about how we can help people get the information they want – privately, safely, and securely.

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