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WeChat is one of the most popular instant messaging platforms in the world, in no small part due to its wide range of uses beyond mere messaging. The platform makes extensive use of bots, QR codes and other features, enabling everything from payments to alerts. What about WhatsApp though?
The Facebook-owned service is much less complex in this regard, but that hasn’t stopped news outlets from stepping up anyway. We take a look at a few publications that offer WhatsApp functionality.
South Africa’s own Eyewitness News offers news stories via WhatsApp, giving you another avenue to consume articles. And the signup process isn’t too complex.
The first step has you adding Eyewitness News as a contact on your phone (use 072 368 8080). You’ll then want to SMS Eyewitness News with your name and cell number to get added to their community. EWN claims you’ll only receive messages from them, however.
Don’t care for the service anymore? Then you can send them a WhatsApp message (with a simple “STOP”) to unsubscribe. I suppose you could delete the contact as well…
Another local media group offering WhatsApp updates, Destiny promises a morning news update at 9:30am as well as an evening roundup at 6:30pm. The stories vary from general news to lifestyle and business stories.
To get started, you’ll want to email your name and cell number to email@example.com. You’ll then receive confirmation in the form of a WhatsApp message, from 083 706 9644 (you’ll want to save this as ‘Destiny’). Want to unsubscribe? Then you should send a WhatsApp message containing the phrase “Please remove me” to the number in question.
The big downside to Destiny? Well, it’s point six on their terms and conditions. “Your number will, however, be added to the Destiny database to receive further alerts from Destiny about other services we have to offer and news from Destiny and Destiny Man magazines.”
Need the latest finance news and indicators sent to your phone? Then Moneyweb’s WhatsApp service warrants a peek.
The publication says it’ll send out two alerts per day, in the form of a morning alert and a late afternoon update. The updates deliver financial indicators, share movements and notable news stories.
From Eyewitness News to the BBC, WhatsApp is being used in some useful ways
To get started, you’ll want to add 073 751 5727 to your contact list, calling it ‘Moneyweb Pulse’. You’ll then want to send your name and contact number to Moneyweb Pulse via WhatsApp. The publication adds that it won’t use your contact details for any other purpose.
Want to unsubscribe? Moneyweb suggests that you merely delete Moneyweb Pulse from your contact list.
Local SA news
There are also a couple of smaller news sites using WhatsApp to broadcast news, in the form of Zululand Observer and Estcourt News.
Want to get updates from the Zululand Observer? Then save their number (072 069 4169) to your contact list under the ‘Zululand Observer’ name. From here, you’ll want to send them your name and surname via WhatsApp — that’s it. Unsubscribing is a case of merely deleting the contact. In any event, the publication says it’ll only send updates to you and that your data isn’t shared with a third party.
Estcourt News follows a similar sign-up process, as you save their number (082 874 5560) to your contact list under the ‘Estcourt News’ name. You’ll then need to send them a WhatsApp message containing your name and surname — now we wait for the updates.
The British broadcaster doesn’t let you subscribe to news via WhatsApp, but it does actively court crowdsourced information via the service.
Got a news tip or images from a breaking news story? Then you can send it to the BBC (+44 (0)7555 173285). The broadcaster adds that it’ll publish your name, unless you’d prefer otherwise. As you’d expect, the BBC says it “will never publish your mobile phone number”.
New York Times
The US publication experimented with news updates via WhatsApp before, but it hasn’t fully embraced the format. It does however offer the ability to send news tips via WhatsApp, much like the BBC.
To send news tips to the publication, you’ll want to add the New York Times to your list of contacts (+1 646-951-4771) and then send them a WhatsApp message with the relevant information. Interestingly enough, the outlet also allows for news tips via Signal, for the more security conscious.