What you need to know
- WhatsApp has officially announced the Communities tab.
- It allows users to easily organize all their group chats in one place.
- The WhatsApp group chat also receives emoji reactions, a larger file sharing limit, an admin delete feature, and larger voice calls.
- Over the coming months, WhatsApp will be testing the Communities feature.
Unlike Telegram, WhatsApp hasn’t gotten much love from its parent company lately. That’s changing today, as the Meta-owned service has officially announced the previously popular Communities tab, along with a host of new improvements for how people connect with focus groups.
The new announcement comes hot on the heels of a recent discovery that hinted at the feature’s arrival in a future update. In fact, the Communities tab allows users to “bring separate groups together under one umbrella,” according to WhatsApp.
“We created WhatsApp Communities to make it easy to organize all your group chats and find information,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, said in a Facebook post. “You’ll be able to bring different groups together in one community—for example, in addition to individual groups for different classes, you might have one inclusive community for parents in a school with a central place for announcements and tools for administrators.”
The new tab is also optional, which means you can be in a group but not in a community. WhatsApp said in a blog post that the feature was created in response to the growing adoption of group chats by schools, local clubs and non-profit organizations.
“Given a lot of the feedback we’ve received, we think there’s more we can do to make it easier to help people manage these busy conversations between these types of groups,” the company added.
However, only admins will be able to create and manage forums, as well as choose which groups become part of their community by linking or unlinking them. Administrators will also have access to a host of new tools, including the ability to send ad messages to every member of the community.
However, WhatsApp does not have specific details about when the new feature will be available in one of the best messaging apps. The service said it will test communities over the next few months before launching the new tab globally.
New features for groups
When Android Central asked if Communities would cause groups to move from the chat screen to the new location, a WhatsApp representative said it wouldn’t change the existing group chat experience.
Instead, the group feature is capturing a bunch of new improvements that will change how people communicate with groups and reduce clutter in large conversations.
Over the coming weeks, group chat members will be able to respond to messages with emoji reactions. This helps avoid chats being flooded with fully typed responses to group messages. WhatsApp has also confirmed that it is raising the file sharing limit to a maximum of 2GB, from the current limit of 100MB.
Another upcoming change for groups is the ability for admins to delete “problematic messages from everyone’s chats”.
The service is also increasing the number of people who can join a voice call to 32. Currently, the WhatsApp voice calling feature only allows up to 8 participants.
All these changes will come to WhatsApp groups regardless of whether they are part of a community or not. These updates will also arrive before the communities launch.
“While other apps build chats for hundreds of thousands of people, we are choosing to focus on supporting the groups that are part of our daily lives,” WhatsApp said.
Apart from WhatsApp, Zuckerberg also pledged to develop community messaging features for Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram in the future.