Teams Channel Information Pane Displays System Messages

New Insight into Channels

The news that Teams is removing system messages from the General channel sparked some questions about how team owners and members will see these messages in the future. The answer comes in Office 365 notification MC215186 (posted June 4) and Microsoft 365 roadmap item 64173 about the Channel information pane. The change will start rolling out for standard release tenants at the beginning of July for completion at the middle of the month, except for government tenants who will see the change in August. Some targeted release tenants report that the update is already effective.

Channel Information Pane

When deployed, the header for a channel will include a new (i) icon. Selecting the icon opens the information pane with a channel summary, where you can see the channel description, a list of recent contributors, and a list of channel members (Figure 1). You’ll also see if the channel is private.

Recent contributors to a channel listed in the information pane
Figure 1: Recent contributors to a channel listed in the information pane

Microsoft hasn’t supplied a definition for a recent contributor and of course, some people are more active than others. After checking some channels, it seems like people who have posted or replied to the channel in the last three months are regarded as “active.” For active channels with many members, this list is likely to be quite long.

New Home for System Messages

System messages are listed at the bottom of the information pane (Figure 2). You can see who has joined or left the team, and channel and team operations such as the creation of new channels or the updating of a channel description.

Teams system messages show in the information pane
Figure 2: Teams system messages show in the information pane

Some system messages are still posted to channels. For instance, if you add a new tab to a channel, an information message can be posted to let members know about the new tab.

Unknown User

Figure 2 includes a couple of references to the infamous Unknown User. This is a label used by Teams when a user cannot be resolved against Azure AD. In this instance, the user account was deleted, so any attempt to look them up fails. If you need to find out who this entry refers to, you can do so by searching the Office 365 audit log. For instance, for the removed event on May 30, you’d look for MemberRemoved events performed by whoever removed the user on May 30.


Everyone in the Office 365 for IT Pros writing team does their best to keep our material up to date. It’s hard when things change all the time inside Office 365 applications, but you can only do your best!

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