Mark Zuckerberg has revealed via Facebook that the world's most popular social media platform will be getting a broadcast channel feature similar to the one rolled out earlier in the year for two of Meta's other apps, WhatsApp and Instagram.
The tech giant launched a public one-to-many messaging feature as WhatsApp Channels earlier this year, alongside something similar for Instagram. Now it's coming to Facebook and is being described by the company as a tool for creators and public figures to more deeply engage with their followers.
Anyone on Facebook will be able to join these broadcast channels as a way of keeping up-to-date with the content from their favorite Pages and dive deeper into the topics that matter most to them. Facebook's partner messaging app, now simply called Messenger, will also be getting the feature.
How Will Facebook Broadcast Channels Work?
Meta reveals more in a Facebook blog post announcing the new feature. Going forward, anyone with admin access to an official Facebook Page belonging to a brand or celebrity will be able to start a broadcast channel directly from the Page they manage.
Admins can invite users to join the broadcast channel, creating what has been described as a “giant group chat” where they are able to publish content to this channel for all of those who choose to see it and engage with.
Channel members receive notifications whenever the creator drops new content. They cannot post in the channel themselves, but can react to posts published by the admin.
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Facebook Businesses Most Obviously Benefit
Listing its core benefits, Meta describes the tool as a “direct communication line with your biggest fans and a lightweight way to keep followers in the know.” Zuckerberg’s post adds that pages will be able to share voice notes, text, photos/videos, and GIFs with anyone who joins their channels.
Polls will also be an important feature for brands to utilize in order to get instant feedback from their community. As well as following in the footsteps of WhatsApp and Instagram channels, the new Facebook broadcast feature most obviously has echoes of Telegram, as the privacy-focused and encrypted messaging app was among the first platforms to introduce such functionality.
New features to the broadcast channel tool are being tested and are expected to be rolled out in due course. This include collaborators, which enable creators to invite other creators (or fans) to participate in their broadcast channel.
Is It Overkill for Meta's Social Media Family?
Whilst the news has been welcomed with open arms by brands and creators which have had success engaging more deeply with their followers on Instagram and WhatsApp, some are skeptical it was necessary to roll out the same feature across all of Meta's platforms. In short, the feature isn't exactly new – it's just new for Facebook.
One Facebook user gained 227 Likes (at the time of writing) by simply commenting on Zuckerberg’s post: “I miss how each app used to be unique.”
The additional notifications are a potential cause for concern, and might limit the number of channels one user can actually manage to keep up with. It’s not known why Meta didn’t introduce broadcast channels as a cross-platform feature to begin with, to avoid users doubling up on the same content across multiple apps and accounts.
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