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WhatsApp is working on a private newsletter feature

WhatsApp is working on a private newsletter feature


Details for WhatsApp’s upcoming ‘Newsletter’ feature were discovered in the code of its latest beta update.

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It’s early days, but WhatsApp’s 2 billion active users could be one hell of a market for independant writers.
Illustration: The Verge

Would you be more likely to subscribe to a newsletter from your favorite creator if you could read it through a messaging app like WhatsApp? As noted by Wabetainfo, code in beta version of WhatsApp Messenger for Android contains references to a new “Newsletter” feature that’s currently under development. The name could itself be a codename, but clues hidden within the code suggest that the one-to-many broadcast tool will be optional and self-contained within its own section of the WhatsApp Status tab, separate from encrypted group chats and messages.

According to Wabetainfo’s findings, Newsletter will grant users full control over what they see — there’s no mention of ads (yet), nor is there any sign of algorithm-based recommendations built into the feature. Instead, users should see content they choose in chronological order. It also seems that Newsletter will support handles, allowing WhatsApp users to peruse and join newsletters by searching for a username directly in the app.

The WhatsApp Newsletter tool is in early development, with no ETA for beta testing

WhatsApp’s Newsletter is still in early development and there’s currently no word on when it will be available for beta testers. While some believe that the newsletter boom has started to wane, there’s still plenty of interest and WhatsApp isn’t the only latecomer to experiment with the format  — just last month, Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger introduced Artifact, a new social platform that presents newsletters, blogs, and articles in a TikTok-like format. Facebook and Twitter have also experimented with newsletters in recent years, though both Twitter’s Revue and Facebook’s Bulletin services have since been shut down.