WhatsApp is reportedly experimenting with private newsletters

You wouldn't have to update friends in chat.

REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas

You might not have to send messages to a group chat to keep your WhatsApp friends updated. WABetaInfo has discovered that code in a recent WhatApp beta for Android includes references to an unannounced "Newsletter" feature. While its exact workings aren't clear, it's a private space in the Status tab that lets you share content with many followers. Names and other contact details are hidden by default.

We've asked WhatsApp parent company Meta for comment. This is the first beta to mention the Newsletter feature, so it may not be ready to test for a while. There's also no guarantee WhatsApp will release newsletters as a finished product.

If this does go ahead, it won't be surprising. WhatsApp is as much a source of information as it is a messaging service, with users frequently forwarding messages and receiving news through group discussions. Newsletters would effectively streamline some of that info delivery. Meta has also spent years pivoting toward privacy-oriented services, including communities that can link multiple group chats. The addition could expand WhatsApp's functionality without turning it into a Facebook-style social network.