Meta has set its sights on copying a new messaging app: Telegram. Mark Zuckerberg just showed off “broadcast channels,” a new Instagram feature that brings one-way messaging to the app. The company is testing the feature with a handful of creators, and plans to bring the Telegram-like functionality to Facebook and Messenger as well.
Broadcast channels allow creators to stream updates to their followers’ inboxes, much like channels on Telegram. Those who join the channels are able to react to messages and vote in polls, but can’t participate in the conversation directly. For example, Mark Zuckerberg shared in his “Meta Channel” that he would use the space to “share news and updates on all the products and tech we’re building at Meta.” In addition to text updates, creators can also share audio clips, photos and other content.
For now, it seems only Zuckerberg and about a dozen other creators have access to the feature. The initial group includes snowboarder Chloe Kim, Jiu-Jitsu fighter Mackenzie Dern, and meme account Tank Sinatra. The company says that others interested in using the feature can sign up to be considered for early access.
Though Meta describes channels as a “test,” the company seems to be fairly invested in the feature. Additional features, including the ability to add another creator to the chat and to conduct AMAs, are already in the works. Meta also plans to start testing the channels on Facebook and Messenger “in the coming months.”