WhatsApp is working on expanding its existing Groups with a new Communities feature. Later this year, WhatsApp Communities will provide users with more tools to organize conversations between different groups, all while benefiting from core WhatsApp features such as privacy and end-to-end encryption.
“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. Communities will also contain powerful new tools for admins, including announcement messages that are sent to everyone and control over which groups can be included,” the company explained.
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Today we’re very excited to share our vision for a feature we’re calling WhatsApp Communities. This is new functionality we’re building to support the many organizations that use WhatsApp to communicate in a private and secure way. pic.twitter.com/LxEccdgJq8
— Will Cathcart (@wcathcart) April 14, 2022
Unlike Facebook Groups, WhatsApp Communities will be private by default and it won’t be possible for users to search for or discover new Communities. The phone numbers of users in a Community will also only be visible to Community admins and other members in a sub-group, and they’ll be hidden for everyone else in a Community. “This will help prevent unwanted contact and will also reduce the risk of scraping people’s phone numbers,” WhatsApp said today.
WhatsApp has designed Communities for schools, local clubs, and other organizations, and the company has started testing the new feature with a limited number of groups. The existing WhatsApp groups are also getting support for Message Reactions, 32-person audio calls, sharing files up to 2GB, and the ability for admins to delete select messages. These new Groups features will start rolling out in the coming weeks before WhatsApp Communities become generally available later this year.