Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced today that the company is launching a new broadcast chat feature on Instagram called “Channels.” This feature allows creators to share public, one-to-many posts to engage directly with their followers. Channels support text, images, polls, comments, and more. Zuckerberg announced the feature by starting his own broadcast channel, where he plans to share Meta updates in the future.
Instagram is beginning channel testing with select creators in the US today and plans to expand the feature in the 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 to broadcast channels and followers can only comment on 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 to the channel to discuss upcoming collabs and collect questions for an AMA through question prompts.
The new feature gives creators a new way to update their followers in the app. In the past, creators usually posted a story to share news and updates with their followers, but now they have the option to use a more direct way to engage with their fans. This feature also allows creators to get feedback on certain things and promote their content.
While Meta is rolling out channels on Instagram first, the company plans to bring the feature to Messenger and Facebook in the coming months, Zuckerberg said.
Once a creator has access to channels, they can start one from their Instagram inbox. After sending their first message, their followers 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 manage their creator notifications.
Creators included in the first 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 (@kieveeneyy) Lonnie IV (@LonnieIIV)Mackenzie Dern (@mackenziedern)Michaela Shiffrin,(@mikaelashiffrin)Tank Sinatra (@tank.sinatra) And Valkyries (@valkyrae).
Broadcast channels are subject to Instagram’s Community Guidelines, and people can report both the broadcast channel itself and specific content shared in the channel, which can be removed if it violates the Meta Policy. The company says broadcast channels are designed for public and discoverable chat experiences, so they’re treated differently than private messages on Instagram. Meta notes that it has tools and reviewers to help identify, review or remove content in broadcast channels that may be in violation of the guidelines.