It looks like the next social media network to venture into the world of newsletters is WhatsApp.
As reported by WABetaInfo, code within the 220.127.116.11 beta of WhatsApp that was rolled out to the Google Play Beta Program contains a reference to the company building out a newsletter feature. The feature, which uses the codename “Newsletter” in the latest beta, will allow users to choose who they want to hear from and receive updates from people and groups.
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.
While the report says newsletters are not expected to feature end-to-end encryption, due to the one-to-many design of the feature, it should still mask the phone number of anyone who creates a newsletter as well as anyone who subscribes to one.
So, where will newsletters exist? The code in the beta indicates that the feature will live in a separate and optional section in the Status tab. It also appears that, at least so far, the newsletter updates will be chronological and free from any algorithm recommendations or advertising.
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.
The timing of WhatsApp getting into newsletters is interesting since Twitter shut down Revue, its own newsletter business, just over a month ago. Bulletin, Facebook’s newsletter platform, is also shutting down next month.
The news comes a couple of days after WhatsApp launched an improved Picture-in-Picture experience for voice calls on the iPhone.