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Viber Public Chat’s beta version was unveiled in November 2014, and a little over a year later, the social channel is now available to celebrities, brands and public figures from Africa and the Middle East.

The Rakuten-owned free calling app commands a user base of more than 664 million people across the globe, which makes it one of the most popular apps in the world. However, this figure is mostly present in some parts of Asia.

The announcement was made this week, with the company stating that organizations, brands, celebrities, social influencers and public figures in Africa and the Middle East are now welcome aboard and can reach both local and regional audience.

What are Viber Public Chats?

You may be asking what really Viber Public Chats are. Well, these are live discussions that can be followed by the millions who use Viber to chat. These discussions can also be liked as well as shared among users.

Public Chats is a different way of socializing where users can easily tap into the lives of their favorite socialites or brands and always know what they are up to. It is possible to discover new communities, share content with your contacts as well as follow interactive discussions in real time.

Viber sees Africa and the Middle East as two of its potential markets and now that it is offering a service that will help it tell the influence of the app in this region, it will be easier to determine which way to take with respect to spreading its services in these regions and other parts of the world.

Partners from key markets in Africa such as South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Ivory Coast and Senegal have already partnered with Viber with respect to this Public Chats offering. Users in Africa can now follow them from the Public Chats explore page.

At the moment, major brands such as Jumia – the leading provider of e-commerce services in Africa – is already on board and so is Youssou NDour – the Senegalese singer and music composer. You can also find media companies such as TRUE Africa and More brands, celebrities and organizations are expected to join the Public Chats with time.

It is easy to follow Public Chats from within Viber. In fact, anyone can do it and there is no limit as to the number of chats one can follow. The conversations can include text, videos, audio recordings, stickers, locations as well as web links, among other forms of media. It is possible to invite friends to follow Public Chats as well as share some sections of these conversations.

You will get the most popular chats right on the home screen of the Public Chats section while users can also find new conversations via the app’s search option or via a custom URL.