WhatsApp on Thursday announced it is expanding the way group messages work with Communities. With Communities, admins will be able to bring separate groups under one umbrella in a new tab so messages are better coordinated.
“Given lots of feedback we’ve received, we think there’s more we can do to make it easier to help people manage these busy conversations among these kinds of groups,” WhatsApp announced in a blog post. Under Communities, different groups can receive the same messages and easily organize smaller discussions.
Communities will be useful for organizations such as schools, businesses, clubs and non-profit organisations whose employees use WhatsApp to communicate. Communities will be launching with new powerful tools for admins, and they will be able to send announcement messages to all sub-groups or select ones. “We think Communities will make it easier for a school principal to bring all the parents of the school together to share must-read updates and set up groups about specific classes, extracurricular activities, or volunteer needs,” WhatsApp said in its blog post.
While there will be comparisons between Telegram and Communities, messages sent on WhatsApp remains encrypted and Communities will not be discoverable via search or recommended. Members will remain limited to their sub-groups and only Community admins can broadcast messages to everyone.
WhatsApp is also introducing some new updates to group messages generally; file sharing is now up to 2GB and up to 32 people can join voice calls. Group admins will now be able to remove unwanted messages from everyone’s chats. WhatsApp is also adding emoji reactions to chats. Emoji reactions will be limited to six options first at rollout before it is expanded to other ones.
Communities will first roll out to a small group of users before it is expanded to everyone.