WhatsApp is rolling out communities, a new feature that will enable users to bring together separate groups under one umbrella.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the new feature on his Facebook page:
“Today we’re starting to test a major evolution of WhatsApp that we’ve been working on: WhatsApp Communities.
He said the new feature would enable people to communicate more privately and intimately with close friends and contacts as well as different communities.
WhatsApp Communities will enable users to organize their group, chats and find information. Users will be able to bring different groups 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.
Different communities that could benefit from the new feature include 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 in the estate or building.
Users will be able to receive updates sent to the entire community and organize smaller discussion groups based on interests
Communities will also come with new tools for admins, including announcement messages that are sent to everyone and control over which groups can be included.
In addition to communities, WhatsApp is rolling out new features to groups including reactions, large file sharing, and bigger group calls.
Emoji reactions are already available on the app, allowing users to react to messages in the groups without spamming the group with new messages.
Group admins will be given rights to remove errant or problematic messages from everyone’s chats. The messaging service is also enhancing file sharing to support files up to 2 gigabytes so people can easily collaborate on projects.
WhatsApp groups will also feature one-tap voice calling for up to 32 people with all new design for live sessions.
Zuckerberg said the feature will be rolled out slowly in the coming months with plans to build communities for Messenger, Facebook and Instagram in the near future.