WhatsApp is rolling out a new update through the Google Play Beta Program, bringing the version up to 126.96.36.199.
What’s new in this update? We discovered that WhatsApp is working on a private newsletter tool, for a future update of the app.
|Name of the feature?||Newsletters|
|Availability?||WhatsApp is working on bringing the ability to create newsletters to a future update of the app.|
|I updated my version of WhatsApp but I don’t have this feature. Why?||This feature is in early development so it is not ready to be released to beta testers, but you can discover a preview in this article.|
|How to join the community on WhatsApp?||WABetaInfo Community|
|Previous news?||WhatsApp beta for Android 188.8.131.52: what’s new? WhatsApp is working on bringing profile icons within group chats, for a future update of the app!|
Over the last few years, WhatsApp has continued to evolve and add new features to the platform to make it more useful for all users. The latest important feature released to users was Communities, a new place where to bring related groups together and improve organization, and it seems WhatsApp keeps exploring new ways to improve the application by bringing new communication tools that will enhance the user experience. Probably, based on the positive feedback received from the feature that brings announcement groups to communities, WhatsApp is now working on a new feature called Newsletter. To be honest, we cannot say for sure that it is really called “Newsletter” as it seems a codename at the moment, but we can temporarily call it that way.
Newsletters will be a one-to-many tool for broadcasting information and they look like a new way to easily receive useful updates from people and groups like local officials, sports teams, or other organizations. Thanks to Newsletters, users will finally be able to choose who they want to hear from and follow broadcasters of their choice right within WhatsApp.
As it will be possible to reach an undefined and large number of people, Newsletters are not protected from end-to-end encryption because the one-way and one-to-many design of the feature means that there is no practical privacy benefit of end-to-end encryption for users. However, the phone number of those users who create and subscribe to a newsletter is always masked and hidden, in order to prevent the disclosure of their identity.
Based on several clues in the code, Newsletters will be a separate and optional section available within the Status tab which is separate from private chats, and will not affect the end-to-end encryption of private messaging: all your messages and calls are and will always be end-to-end encrypted. This means no one else, not even WhatsApp, Meta, and a proxy provider, can read your personal messages and listen to your private calls.
Newsletters do not pivot to a public social network as they are a personal space where you are always in control over what you see, when you see it, and who you see it from. According to our discoveries, this new feature does not have any ads at the moment, and there is no sign of algorithmic recommendations, or social graphs pushing content to users that they didn’t choose to see: the content will always be shown chronologically without any magic priority, just like other WhatsApp chats. In addition, this feature will support handles which means that users can easily find and join Newsletters by searching for them using a username right within WhatsApp.
We can say for sure that the development of Newsletters has been built with privacy in mind: users will be able to control who they follow, and nobody else will be able to see who they follow, regardless of whether they’re in their contacts list or not. In addition, the Newsletter is marked as a private tool because people that will create and join a Newsletter are in a private space as their phone numbers and personal information are always hidden by default, as we said above.
If you’re wondering whether we’re planning to create a newsletter for WABetaInfo, the answer is yes. We’ve tried experimenting with something similar using communities, but they didn’t fully meet our expectations. This is because communities were founded with different principles, such as organizing groups. However, the limitation of 5000 participants didn’t allow us to express ourselves enough and reach a larger number of people. In addition, the community creator’s phone number is visible to everyone, the list of participants is also visible to the creator, even though it’s hidden among the group members, and they can easily reach the community admin in private, regardless of whether they have obtained explicit permission to do so. Newsletters break all these limitations by masking phone numbers, and we believe it will be the perfect tool to connect with our audience.
This is the first beta version that has some signs of Newsletters and since it is still in its early stages, the feature is not available right now and there may be a lot of details yet to be revealed in the upcoming updates. However, it is clear that WhatsApp is giving people a new feature they have been asking for: thanks to the development of Newsletters, users will definitely have an easier way to receive useful updates from people and groups they are interested in, in a safe, secure, and private way. As always, we will keep you up to date when there are further details in the next upcoming updates.
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