WhatsApp is adding some new features, one of which is a way to bring together group chats that are related. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, announced the Communities feature earlier this year. Its goal is to let users combine group chats “under one umbrella with a structure that works for them.” Instagram and Facebook are both working on tools that will do the same thing.
In the coming months, all WhatsApp users will be able to join groups. You’ll be able to set up smaller chats within a community to talk about things that are important to you and easily switch between them. WhatsApp will give admins “powerful new tools” to help them run communities, like the ability to send messages to all members and choose which groups to include.
WhatsApp suggests that neighborhoods, workplaces, and parents whose kids go to the same school could bring people together as part of a community. To get started, tap the Communities tab at the top of the screen on Android or at the bottom of the screen on iOS. You will be able to start a community from scratch or add groups that already exist.
The Communities feature sounds a bit like Facebook Groups. It’s also similar to Nextdoor and Discord, but it has end-to-end encryption to keep your information safe. Zuckerberg has been looking at a community-driven model to make Meta’s apps less focused on feeds. However, making group chats more like Facebook Groups, where fake news has spread a lot in recent years, could have some bad effects. Because WhatsApp focuses on encryption, there aren’t as many tools for moderators to use. This may make it harder to keep lies from spreading.
WhatsApp is also adding some new features to groups that are not part of a community. Polls are coming to groups, and Meta has been testing encrypted 32-person video calls for the last few weeks. Also, groups can now have up to 1,024 users.