The feature means that WhatsApp works more like a social network than a conversation, replicating some of the functions of a news feed like those on other Meta apps such as Instagram and Facebook.
Channels means that users can follow people and organisations, who can then send out updates. WhatsApp described it as a “private broadcast service”: an account focused on travel updates might send a post to all of its followers informing them of delays, for instance.
It is just the latest feature that expands the functions of WhatsApp beyond the conversations and group chats it is well known for. It follows the introduction of Communities, for instance, which means that an organisation like a school can gather together people and chats under one umbrella.