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UK Government launches WhatsApp Channels account


Mark Say Managing Editor

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The UK Government has launched a new account on WhatsApp Channels, saying it will enable people to subscribe to receive updates on their phones.

The Cabinet Office announced the move, saying it follows a trend of governments using WhatsApp Channels, which provide single message alerts or updates to subscribers.

WhatsApp makes it clear that the channels are one-way and that users can opt out at any time. They must opt-in via WhatsApp to subscribe to the channel.

The Cabinet Office said users can expect updates on a weekly basis. The channel will be focused on reiterating important information which is relevant directly to the public in areas like providing updates on public services, news updates that affect a large part of the population or pointing to new guidance and public resources. 

It will be continuously reviewed to ensure that it is being used effectively.

No politics

The Government will also use the channel to share trusted and essential information from partner organisations such as UK Health Security and Public Health England health alerts. It will not be used for political or campaign purposes and will be managed by government officials. 

Examples of the types of posts cited in the announcement include reiterating public health advice such as the availability of winter flu jabs, and deadline reminders for self-assessment tax returns.

Cabinet Office Minister Alex Burghart said: “We are always looking for new ways to communicate with the public. WhatsApp is a hugely popular platform in the UK so we hope our new and entirely opt-in WhatsApp channel will be a useful way of providing people with updates from the Government.

“We’re looking forward to seeing how people respond to this service and will develop it over time based on users’ feedback.”

The channel is entirely separate from the national emergency alerts system, which was tested in 2023 and which provides alerts only when there is a direct risk to life.


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