WhatsApp said in a statement today that it’s working on a new feature called “Communities” that would connect individuals with similar interests together and make group management easier.
A community is simply a collection of groups that may be started by anybody and joined by numerous groups. Users may also opt in to get updates that are broadcast to the whole community. The functionality will also provide administrators additional capabilities, such as the ability to send out announcement messages to everyone and control over which groups may be included.
End-to-end encryption will also be supported by communities. The change was made in response to user criticism that users were becoming disoriented as a result of the platform’s many groupings:
People will be able to gather together in different groups under one tent with a structure that works for them using WhatsApp Communities. People may simply establish smaller discussion groups on topics that are important to them and have updates posted to the broader Community.
In terms of discoverability, unlike other platforms, the platform has said that it would not be giving the ability to search or discover new groups. Additionally, the platform will restrict the number of groups to which messages may be sent from five to only one at a time, in order to reduce the spread of incorrect information among Community groups.
In addition, if WhatsApp becomes aware of unlawful, violent, or hateful actions inside a Community, it will ban specific Community members or administrators and dismantle the Community.
According to a recent upgrade, groups will now support emoji replies for messages, allowing users to respond to a specific message without having to send emojis individually. Admins will be able to delete messages in a group, which will be erased from everyone’s device, just like previously. File sharing, for example, is being updated to allow files up to 2GB in size. Finally, one-tap voice calling now supports up to 32 participants