Meta has decided to bring Instagram’s broadcast channels to more countries. In an official statement, the parent company of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook announced that it is rolling out the broadcast channels to India and other countries to “help creators deepen their connections with their followers”. This development comes nearly four months after broadcast channels – Meta’s answer to Telegram’s channels – were introduced.

Channels on Instagram work pretty much the way they work on other platforms. Creators create content, that they share with followers in a one-to-many fashion. They can also use voice notes to share their latest updates and behind-the-scenes moments, and also create polls to crowdsource fan feedback. Only creators can send messages in broadcast channels, while followers can react to content and vote in polls.

In the announcement, Meta also talked about channels such as MC Stan, ICC and Mumbai Indians, which have already garnered a large following in India, even before the official roll-out.

Once a creator sends the first message from their Instagram inbox, all their followers will receive a one-time notification to join the channel. They will receive notifications in their message inbox, alongside other direct or group message threads, and will have the option to leave or mute these channels and control channel notifications. Instagram is also testing new features on broadcast channels, such as Collaborators (available globally), question prompts to gather feedback from followers, a dedicated channels tab in the inbox (both in early testing), setting an expiration date and time on channels, adding a moderator to help manage members, messages and content, and sharing links or previews to Stories to encourage followers to join.

By offering a functionality that is similar to Telegram, Instagram aims to provide a seamless and familiar experience to users who are already familiar with channel-based content consumption, thus intensifying the competition among social media platforms. The development also allows influencers and content creators to diversify their content offerings, deepen engagement with their followers, and potentially expand their reach. The availability of additional interactive features such as polls and voice notes also provides them with new avenues to understand their audience preferences and tailor their content accordingly.

Followers can leave or mute broadcast channels at any time and can also control their notifications from creators by going to a creator’s profile, tapping the “bell icon” (sound familiar?) and selecting “broadcast channel.”

Notifications will default to “some,” but this setting can be changed to “all” or “none.” Other than the invitation notification, followers will not get any other notifications about a broadcast channel unless they add the channel to their inbox. Once a channel is added to their inbox, it will appear among other message threads, and notifications will be turned on and function like any other chat.

As soon as the broadcast channel is live, creators can also encourage their followers to join by using the “join channel” sticker in Stories or by pinning the channel link to their profile .

The one-to-many messaging service ensures that followers can only react to the shared content or vote in polls, and not post messages in their own rights. Channel creators can, however, invite people to participate and send messages in the channel through the new Collaborators feature.