WhatsApp launched it’s new Communities feature on Thursday, bringing in larger, more structured discussion groups.
According to WhatsApp, “Communities like neighborhoods, parents at a school, and workplaces can now connect multiple groups together under one umbrella to organize group conversations on WhatsApp.”
The feature is designed to help organizations, clubs, schools, and other private groups better communicate and stay organized, It also brings in new features to the messaging platform, including admin controls, support for sub-groups and announcement groups, 32-person voice and video calls, larger file sharing, emoji reactions, and polls. Communities can also support groups of up to 1024 users and offer end-to-end encryption.
The feature can be accessed via the Communities tab at the top of chats on Android and the bottom on iOS, where users can start a new Community from scratch or add existing groups to a Community.
“Today we are excited to share our vision for a new feature we are adding to WhatsApp called Communities. Since WhatsApp launched in 2009, we’ve been focused on how we can help people have the next best thing to an in-person conversation when they want to talk to an individual or a group of friends or family.
“We also frequently hear from people who are using WhatsApp to communicate and coordinate within a community,” Mark Zuckerberg said, announcing the feature.
WhatsApp said it worked with more than 50 organizations in 15 countries to build the feature, adding in a blog post,
“With Communities, we’re aiming to raise the bar for how organizations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else. The alternatives available today require trusting apps or software companies with a copy of their messages—and we think they deserve the higher level of security provided by end-to-end encryption.”