The New York Times has begun a new experiment in news content delivery: It will be sending users updates using the popular mobile messaging app WhatsApp.
The Times’ Vatican correspondent will be sending out up-to-the-moment updates about all things Pope Francis to people who wish to follow this news. According to the paper, all users have to do to sign up is:
1. Download WhatsApp on your phone.
2. Save this number, 347-346-3429, in your phone’s contacts.
3. Text “POPE” to that number via your WhatsApp account.
Once that’s done, users will receive text updates about throughout the day about the Pope.
Updates look like this:
The Times says it considers this an experiment and wouldn’t release more detailed information about its plans with the mobile app, writes Nieman Lab.
This isn’t the first news organisation dabbling with apps like WhatsApp. BBC News India used both WhatsApp and WeChat to send readers alerts about the Indian election in April 2014.
Whether it will take off remains to be seen. WhatsApp does have more than 800 million monthly active users, but other mobile news projects like Circa — which recently shut down — have yet to take off.
This experiment will, for the time being, only be happening this month during the Pope’s Latin American trip, writes the Times.