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Alexey Gavrilov
By
April 13, 2021

Why Social Features Have Been Removed From the Free Zello App

You may have noticed over the past several months that some of the social features that were once a part of the free Zello app are now gone — and you may be wondering why. 

In 2019 we shifted our focus from social media to communication utility, with an emphasis on frontline workers and their communities. This has meant that some of the social features previously implemented in the app no longer supported our core mission. We have been working to remove these features to simplify the software and focus on building the world's best walkie talkie app, delivering crystal clear, highly reliable voice communication to the people who need it most.

Person using Zello on smartphone

Here’s a look at what’s been removed:

  • Trending channels. In 2018, we removed trending channels. This resulted in an increase in the number of active channels, while dramatically cutting down on the amount of abuse, including trolling of popular channels, roasting people, exposing private information, and violating our terms of service in channels dedicated to abusive and illegal practices.
  • Channel and user profiles at zello.com. We no longer support these features as we shift away from being a social media platform to being a communication utility. 
  • Channel search. Now in order to join a channel, you need to know the exact channel name to add it. Alternatively, you can be invited with a link or a QR code. 
  • Sharing voice messages. The decision to remove this feature was one of our more difficult ones, as we know some people rely on it for good. However, only 1% of users ever made use of this function. Many users were concerned that the feature made it too easy to share private conversations. Ultimately, our shift in focus helped us decide in favor of greater privacy rather than ease of sharing, which is more appropriate for social media. All previously shared messages will be removed after August 1, 2021. If you want to preserve any messages you shared, please download them before that date.

Upcoming Changes

Here are a few other items we’re currently working on to help support our adjusted goals and create a more reliable app that delivers an excellent communication experience, every time.

  • We are further simplifying channel and user profiles in the app and reducing the number of channel settings.
  • Channel links will be moved from zello.com to my.zello.com.
  • We will be automatically removing any channels that haven't been active for more than a year. This will reduce clutter and release channel names that's no longer being used.

We understand that not everybody will be happy with these changes but firmly believe they are necessary. We’re excited to continue working to deliver fast, secure, reliable, and easy to use push-to-talk service for individuals and organizations of all sizes.