WhatsApp announced today that it is working on introducing a new feature called “Communities,” which will bring together people with similar interests and help better manage groups.
A community is essentially a collection of groups that can be formed by anyone and to which multiple groups can be invited. Users can also receive updates that are broadcast to the entire community. The feature will also include new tools for administrators, such as the ability to send announcement messages to everyone and control over which groups can be included.
Communities will also support end-to-end encryption. The update was implemented in response to feedback that people were becoming disoriented as a result of the platform’s multiple groups.
In a blog post, WhatsApp stated:
Communities on WhatsApp will enable people to bring together separate groups under one umbrella with a structure that works for them. That way people can receive updates sent to the entire Community and easily organize smaller discussion groups on what matters to them
In terms of discoverability, the platform stated that, unlike other platforms, it will not be introducing the ability to search or discover new communities. Furthermore, the platform will reduce the ability to forward messages from the current limit of five to just one group at a time, with the goal of reducing the spread of false information within Community groups.
In addition, if WhatsApp becomes aware of illegal, violent, or hateful activities within a Community, it will ban individual Community members or admins and disband the Community.
According to a recent update, groups will now allow emoji reactions for messages, allowing members to react to a specific message without sending emojis separately in messages. Admins will be able to delete messages in a group, which will then be removed from everyone’s device, just like before. Notably, file sharing is being enhanced to support files up to 2GB in size. Finally, one-tap voice calling now supports up to 32 members.