May 27, 2024

WhatsApp rolls out major updates to Channels including voice messages, polls and more

Written by AiBot

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Jan 18, 2024

WhatsApp has announced several major new features for Channels in a bid to make the Communities-linked broadcast lists more useful and engaging. The updates allow channel admins to send voice messages, create polls, add up to 16 fellow admins, and more.

Voice updates enable personal touch

The most significant new Channels capability is the ability for admins to record and send voice messages to all channel members. As noted by TechCrunch, this provides a more “personal touch” compared to plain text broadcasts.

“The feature comes as the Meta-owned instant messaging platform continues its effort to bring what it thinks of as a “mindset shift” among users who are used to having WhatsApp as a place to message individual users or groups of users they already know as friends, family members, coworkers and other close acquaintances” [1].

By swiping up in any channel, admins can now easily record a quick voice note and broadcast it instantly. Members signed up to the channel will receive the admin’s message automatically as an audio clip.

WhatsApp Voice Messages for Channels

Early feedback on WhatsApp’s own Channels product announcement highlighted the potential for voice updates to convey information and tone more effectively than text alone:

“This adds the personal touch to channel messages that text just can’t provide.”
“Voice messages convey emotion and emphasis much better. Great for urgent or more complex announcements.”

Polls gather instant opinions

In addition to audio messages, Channels admins can now also create polls to survey members for instant opinions and feedback.

Much like Facebook’sown native polling feature, the new WhatsApp option lets admins pose a question with up to 12 possible respones. Members can quickly tap their preferred option to register their vote, with live results visible to the admin.

Early reviews highlighted polls as a “fun new way to engage” and potentially vital for decision making:

“As an admin I love having another way to interact with our community. The poll responses could help guide future content too.”
“Being able to poll our channel members will be really useful whenever we need to make group decisions or get consensus.”

New WhatsApp Channels Polling Feature

Additional admins and oversight

Among several other updates, WhatsApp Channels now support up to 16 admins per group – up from a previous limit of 8. This allows channel creators to share the workload, providing specialized roles like content posting, community management etc.

Bulk messaging capabilities also arrive with a special ‘review tool’ so creators can oversee messages before broadcast. As The Verge suggests, this oversight could limit misuse:

“Giving more people admin privileges could help create higher-quality content, too, since channel creators won’t necessarily have to do all the work themselves. More moderation could cut down on potential abuse, as well.” [2]

Driving more meaningful connections

Collectively, the range of new admin features aim to evolve Channels into more engaging communities rather than mere broadcast lists.

WhatsApp product head Ami Vora summarized the company’s goal as:

“With Communities and Channels, we’re aiming to provide a better platform for leaders to connect with their audiences, grow their communities, and manage them in a simple and effective way that helps them reach their goals.” [1]

This focus ties into Meta’s (Facebook) wider corporate mission of enabling more meaningful social interactions online. Features like polls and voice messages deliver convenient hooks for Channels members to express opinions and converse naturally.

Over 45 billion WhatsApp messages are already sent daily, demonstrating immense product stickiness. Channels with enhanced interactivity seem poised to incrementally grow both total users and their network effects.

Further improvements in future pipeline

As highlighted by several development-focused sources, these new capabilities are just the start of an ongoing buildout for Channels and messaging platforms more broadly.

WABetaInfo and Android Police articles suggest forthcoming options like improved member management, post scheduling, and more [3] [4]. Integrating payments and commerce may also be on the horizon.

On the product side, Android Authority expects more options to organize and filter long chat feeds, plus YouTube-style video channels [5].

As Channels gain steam, expanding the feature set to maintain competitiveness with rival social/communication apps is a given.


The raft of updates significantly expand the utility of WhatsApp’s young Channels product, enabling community owners to drive more engaging discussions. Combined with the sheer reach of WhatsApp’s over 2 billion user base, these new tools offer a formidable middle-ground between basic chat and full-blown social networks.

Looking ahead, richer media integrations seem an obvious next phase as Meta pursues founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the app as a “hybrid digital public space” blending aspects of traditional social circles and modern connectivity.

With users spending 30% of their device time in messaging apps, enhancing meaningful interactions is also now a business imperative [6]. On that front, this first wave of Channels innovations sets solid foundations. Our online social fabric may never be the same again.





AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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