WhatsApp has announced its vision for a new feature known as Communities, which will enable people to bring together separate groups under one umbrella. People will receive updates sent to the entire community and easily organize smaller discussion groups. 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.
Mark Zuckerberg announced the new feature on his Facebook page, saying on 14th April, “Today we’re starting to test a major evolution of WhatsApp that we’ve been working on: WhatsApp Communities. It’s been clear for a while that the way we communicate online is changing. Most of us use social networks and feeds to discover interesting content and stay updated. But for a deeper level of interaction, messaging has become the centre of our digital lives. It’s more intimate and private, and with encryption it’s more secure too.
Mr Zuckerberg said messaging services are built around one-to-one text messaging — and this feature will remain the core of the social media platforms. “But we’ve also been working on building out the next generation of private messaging. With a focus on privacy, safety and security, we’ve added video chats, voice messages, stories, commerce, payments and more to WhatsApp and Messenger.”
With the launch of Communities, Whatsapp is taking this further and enabling people to not only communicate with close friends and contacts, but also with all of the different communities in your life. “This might be a school community with chats where important announcements for parents are shared and discussed, or a work community with chats to discuss different things with colleagues, or a neighborhood community to talk about what’s happening on your street or in your building,” he said.
He said WhatsApp Communities has been built to make it much easier to organize all group chats and find information. You’ll be able to bring different group together into one community — for example, in addition to individual groups for different classes, you might have one overall community for parents at a school with a central place for announcements and tools for admins. “We’re also adding new features to groups on WhatsApp, including reactions, large file sharing, and bigger group calls. And because this is WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption and safety features will be built in from the start,” he said
Whatsapp Communities will be rolled out slowly, but is billed to be an important evolution for the social media forum and online communication overall. In the same way that social feeds took the basic technology behind the internet and made it so anyone could find people and content online, Mr Zuckerberg figures community messaging will take the basic protocols behind one-to-one messaging and extend them so you can communicate more easily with groups of people.
“We’ll be building community messaging features for Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram as well. I’m excited to see how this progresses as we start testing WhatsApp Communities today and roll it out over the coming months,” he said. “WhatsApp is also making a number of improvements to how groups work — whether or not they are part of a Community.
Reactions: Emoji reactions are coming to WhatsApp so people can quickly share their opinion without flooding chats with new messages.
Admin Delete: Group admins will be able to remove errant or problematic messages from everyone’s chats.
File Sharing: We’re increasing file sharing to support files up to 2 gigabytes so people can easily collaborate on projects.
Larger Voice Calls: We’ll introduce one-tap voice calling for up to 32 people with all new design for those times when talking live is better than chatting.