Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced his entry to WhatsApp, a platform that has been a powerful campaigning tool for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but had hitherto not been used directly by the PM for outreach. The WhatsApp channel, created last Thursday, gained thousands of followers within minutes of its existence, officials said.?
Mr. Modi’s shared a photograph of himself sitting at a desk in the new Parliament building as his first post on the channel, with an accompanying message in English that reads: “Thrilled to join the WhatsApp community! It is yet another step closer in our journey of continued interactions. Let’s stay connected here!”
WhatsApp channels are a means of one-way communications, with no way to contact a channel owner from within the platform — officials handling Mr. Modi’s broadcasts will also not be able to see subscribers’ phone numbers, except for those people whose numbers are saved on their phones, the Meta-owned firm said in a message to users subscribing to updates from the Prime Minister.
Meta did not immediately provide a comment on the launch of the channel.?
India is WhatsApp’s largest market, with nearly every smartphone having the messaging app installed. The app has around half a billion users in India, according to multiple industry estimates. Meta recently denied a Financial Times report that the company was considering adding advertisements to the app to leverage its steep user base.
Mr. Modi’s personal social media accounts have 48 million followers on Facebook, 17.7 million YouTube subscribers, and 91.8 million followers on X (formerly Twitter). Among these services, only YouTube has a user base comparable to WhatsApp in India.