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Meta is copying Telegram channels in Instagram

Written by on February 16, 2023

Meta is introducing its own take on Telegram channels with broadcast channels on Instagram, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Thursday via, well, one of the new channels. (Note that they only work on mobile right now, so you’ll have to be on your phone to see Zuck’s channel.)

With the new format, creators can broadcast messages and updates to a broad audience of followers that opt in to following the channel. Followers will not be able to post in the channels, though they can emoji react to posts and vote in polls.

The new channels could be a handy way to broadcast to followers.
Image: Meta

Zuckerberg’s channel, called Meta Channel 📢 (yes, with the emoji), will be a place where he shares “news and updates on all the products and tech we’re building at Meta.” He says he’ll be sharing news to Meta Channel first, which is a devious hack to get people to follow it, if you ask me.

Down the line, channels will “support collabs with guest appearances, AMAs and more,” Zuckerberg says. Channels are only available on Instagram to start but will be coming to Messenger and Facebook “in the coming months.”

Right now, the feature is in testing with a select group of creators, including snowboarder Chloe Kim and streamer Valkyrae, who will be starting their broadcast channels over the course of Thursday. Meta does have a waitlist for the feature, but it’s telling me it’s already full.

If you get access, you can start a channel from your Instagram inbox, and soon, you’ll be able to pin the channel link to your profile to make it easier for others to join. Channels can be open to all of your followers, but you can make them exclusive to paid subscribers.

The new channels could be a very useful new tool for creators to share updates with their communities. And given the general uncertainty over what’s happening on Twitter, having a new text-based way that’s easily accessible to their Instagram audiences could be a relief to creators.

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