On a free Slack, can an owner/admin view private channels?

3 Answers 3


As of May 2019 Slack's privacy FAQ states that on a free plan, owners can request an export of all data, including private messages and channels. However, they must "provide (a) valid legal process, (b) consent of members, or (c) a requirement or right under applicable laws."


According to @SlackHQ (the official Slack twitter account), "owners can only see the private channels that they are a member of".

  • That doesn't answer for "Admins" though, if there is a way.
    – Mastro
    Mar 4, 2019 at 16:48
  • 3
    "Owner" is a higher level of access than admin, so it does answer the question in this context.
    – octern
    May 5, 2019 at 0:19
  • This tweet by SlackHQ confirms that Admins in Free plan also cannot see private channels unless they are a member: "there's no way for an admin to see those private channels?" SlackHQ: "That's correct." twitter.com/SlackHQ/status/784893869490143233
    – wisbucky
    Aug 17, 2021 at 18:21
  • While this is true, the definition of 'Owner' is dubious. And 'Compliance Exports' is a clumsy mechanism for monitoring compliance
    – Rondo
    Feb 24, 2022 at 0:00

There is workaround though. If you have a Slack app that collects tokens from all you users, that app is able to access all private channels.

Also see this post: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/37690761/get-a-list-of-all-private-channels-with-slack-api/53142640#53142640

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