Meta Platforms on Thursday introduced WhatsApp Channels, a feature that the social media giant said would help make the app a "private broadcast messaging product."
Users in Colombia and Singapore will be the first to receive access to Channels. Over the coming months, Meta will expand the availability of the tool for users in more countries, it said.
The company said users will be able to follow content on their hobbies, sports teams, and updates from local officials and others.
Profile photos and contact information of the channel admin would not be visible to followers. Similarly, followers will not have their phone numbers revealed.
Global launch partners for the feature will include the World Health Organization, FC Barcelona and Manchester City.
Meta launches verified account service in India for Rs 699/month
Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has launched a verified service in India at a monthly subscription price of Rs 699 for mobile apps, the company said on Wednesday.
Meta is planning to roll out verified service on the web in the coming months at a subscription price of Rs 599 per month.
"Meta Verified is available for direct purchase on Instagram or Facebook in India starting today. People can purchase a monthly subscription for Rs 699 on iOS and Android. In the coming months, we'll also introduce a web purchase option for Rs 599 a month," the company said in a statement.
For a verified account subscription, Facebook and Instagram users will need to verify their account with a government ID.
The verified account will provide impersonation protections and account support.
"We're expanding our test of Meta Verified to India after seeing good results from our early testing in several countries globally. We'll also continue honouring verified badges that were granted previously based on existing criteria," Meta said.
To be eligible, accounts must meet minimum activity requirements, such as prior posting history and applicants must be at least 18 years old.
Applicants are then required to submit a government ID that matches the profile name and photo of the Facebook or Instagram account they are applying for.
"We want to make it easier for creators to establish a presence so they can focus on building their communities on Instagram or Facebook. As we continue to expand and evolve Meta Verified globally, there will also be no changes to accounts that were previously verified, " Meta said.
Social media platform Twitter was the first entity to start charging a monthly subscription for a verified account.
The company rolled out the Twitter Blue subscription service early this year at a monthly fee of Rs 650 on the web and Rs 900 on mobile devices to maintain their verification status.