Meta’s “broadcast channels,” previously available for Instagram and WhatsApp, will be coming to Facebook and Messenger “in the coming weeks,” according to a Meta blog post. CEO Mark Zuckerberg also shared the news in a post from his personal Facebook account.
Broadcast channels function a bit like giant but limited group chats. A creator can invite their followers and then blast things like voice notes, polls, text posts, videos, and photos to anyone who joins. Channel members receive notifications whenever the creator drops content.
Specifically, these channels will be available for Pages on Facebook, and they’re in testing now. Those who manage the official page for a celebrity or a company, for example, will be able to start a channel directly from the page. Those who wish to join a broadcast channel will be able to do so directly from any specific page.
Broadcast channels have proven to be a handy thing on Instagram, where they’ve been since February of this year. I’m a member of a few myself. While they can have many hundreds of members, their chat-like interface (and the fact that they live in your DMs) makes it feel like a more intimate way to connect with creators you follow.
On the other hand, I do also try to limit the number of broadcast channels that I join, largely because I want to keep a handle on how many notifications I’m getting throughout the day, which is why it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me why these channels can’t be cross-platform. Plenty of other tools have the option to work across both Facebook and Instagram, such as direct messages. I don’t see a huge benefit to joining both an Instagram and Facebook channel for the same creator if it will lead to more notifications about the same content.
Still, having broadcast channels available for Facebook and Messenger seems like an obvious next step in the feature’s (very fast) journey. The feature has exploded on Instagram after its introduction in the US earlier this year, with the most popular channels counting millions of members.