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(Pocket-lint) - BlackBerry's own social network, BBM Channels, will launch today on handsets running BlackBerry OS 5 and above.

BBM Channels will allow device owners the opportunity to communicate with companies, brands, etc. BlackBerry envisions a platform that goes something like this: A company creates a channel on BBM Channels, then BBM users post messages to that company, and the company can share messages, pictures and animated GIFs.

BBM Channels is similar to Twitter, because both services enable companies, brands and people to create specific pages for communicating with fans/followers/users. In addition, regular users can create BBM Channels for others to follow.

READ: BlackBerry launches BBM Channels, a new way for brands to use BBM

When announcing it in May, BlackBerry said BBM Channels would feature updatable pages that can be shared within BBM. Users can see how many people have viewed and shared their BBM Channel and other users are able to comment on the pages themselves. It's a clever idea, really, bringing social advertising to BBM.

BBM Channels will start to roll out on Tuesday at 12pm PST. BlackBerry also said it would release BBM Channels for iPhone and Android handsets "in the coming months."

Check out the tutorial videos by Blackberry for BBM Channels below to get a closer look at how the social network will work.

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Writing by Elyse Betters. Originally published on 26 November 2013.