Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that the company is launching a new broadcast chat feature on Instagram called “Channels.” The feature lets creators share public, one-to-many messages to directly engage with their followers. Channels support text, images, polls, reactions and more. Zuckerberg announced the feature by starting his own broadcast channel, where he plans to share Meta updates going forward.
Instagram is starting to test channels with a select creators in the U.S. today, and plans to expand the feature in coming months. Creators can use broadcast channels to help followers stay updated and see behind-the-scenes moments. Instagram notes that only creators can post in broadcast channels, and that followers only have the ability to react to content and participate in polls.
In the coming months, Instagram plans to add more features to broadcast channels, such as the ability to bring another creator into the channel to discuss upcoming collabs and collect questions for an AMA via question prompts.
The new feature gives creators a new way to update their followers within the app. In the past, creators have usually posted a story to share news and updates with their followers, but they now have the option to use a more direct way to engage with their fans. The feature also lets creators get feedback on certain things and promote their content.
Although Meta is debuting channels on Instagram first, the company plans to bring the feature to Messenger and Facebook in the coming months, according to Zuckerberg.
Once a creator gets access to channels, they can start one from their Instagram inbox. After sending their first message, their followers will receive a one-time notification to join the channel. When the channel is live, creators can also encourage their followers to join by using the “join channel” sticker in Stories. Creators will soon be able to pin their channel to their profile.
All users on the social network can discover broadcast channels and view the content, but only followers who join the channel will receive notifications when the creator posts updates. Followers can leave or mute broadcast channels at any time and can also control their notifications from creators.
Creators who are part of the initial test include Austin Sprinz (@austin_sprinz), Chloe Kim (@chloekim), David Allen (@ToTouchanEmu), FaZe Rug, (@fazerug), Flau’jae Johnson, (@flaujae), Gilbert Burns (@gilbert_burns), Josh Richards (@joshrichards), Karen Cheng (@karenxcheng), Katie Feeney (@katiefeeneyy), Lonnie IIV (@LonnieIIV), Mackenzie Dern (@mackenziedern), Mikaela Shiffrin,(@mikaelashiffrin), Tank Sinatra (@tank.sinatra) and Valkyrae (@valkyrae).
Broadcast channels are subject to Instagram’s community guidelines, and people can report both the broadcast channel itself or specific content shared in the channel, which can be removed if it goes against Meta policies. The company says broadcast channels are designed for public and discoverable chat experiences, so they are treated differently from private messaging on Instagram. Meta notes that it has tools and reviewers to help identify, review or remove content in broadcast channels that may violate its guidelines.