Instagram is Getting Telegram-Like Broadcast Channels
Amid company turmoil, Meta is chugging along with the addition of yet another new feature that is yet again eerily similar to a different social media app. In this case, Instagram takes a note from Telegram with new “broadcast Channels.”
Channels operate as one-way message — more of an announcement than a direct message, where followers can only react to what creators post or participate in polls. These parasocial-relationship-bait posts can include text, photo, video, or voice notes, but a release from Meta says more options, like Ask Me Anything functionality and the ability to have guest appearances, will come.
“Creators can use broadcast channels to help followers stay in the know with the latest updates and behind-the-scenes moments using text, photo, video, voice notes, and polls. Followers can react to content and participate in polls, with more features coming soon,” Instagram explains.
It’s a bit unclear, though, what functionality this adds to existing Instagram posts or stories. Polls and reactions are built into those options, too and creators can open the floor to followers to ask questions there, as well. So not only is this yet another idea Instagram got from another social media app, it doesn’t appear to be adding much to the experience.
The Broadcast Channels feature isn’t yet rolled out to everyone. When one PetaPixel staff member attempted to view and join Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “Meta Channel,” they weren’t able to. Another staff member had no issue joining. Evidently, only a handful of members have access to broadcast channels according to Engadget. It’s not clear what is allowing one person to join and not another.
The initial group of users who have access to Channels include Chloe Kim, Jiu-Jitsu fighter Mackenzie Dern, and meme account Tank Sinatra, among others. The company says that it is still testing the feature with a “handful” of US-based creators, and others interested in using the feature can sign up to be considered for early access.
In its release, Meta said it will roll out broadcast channels to more “creators” soon, which leaves open the question of who gets to be a creator. Will anyone be able to make a channel, or is this a feature reserved for the blue-checkmarks? Those who do gain the ability to use the feature can choose to lock it off and limit to paid subscribers for “exclusive content.”
Broadcast Channels appear to be mobile-only at this point, too. Trying to open a link for the feature simply asks you to view on the Instagram app.
As for Zuckerberg’s broadcast channel, he’ll be using it to keep everyone updated on what’s going on at the company.
“I’m starting a channel to share news and updates on all the products and tech we’re building at Meta. It will be the place I share Meta product news first,” Zuckerberg’s Facebook post announcing the new feature reads.
If that’s the case, hopefully the tech CEO will allow everyone to view the channel soon lest the public miss out on more updates like this one.
Image credits: Instagram