WhatsApp has announced that it will start rolling out Communities, a new feature designed to help manage groups better. While Communities will only roll out later in the year, it is also adding some new features focused on Groups. Some of these such as Reactions, Admin Delete, larger size file sharing, and larger voice calls will roll out over the coming weeks. Here’s a quick look at everything that WhatsApp has announced.
Reactions: Emoji reactions are coming to WhatsApp messages so people can quickly react to a messag without flooding chats with new messages. This is similar to the reactions that Facebook Messenger and Instagram also offer to users. Currently on Facebook Messenger or Instagram DMs, one can long press on a message and reactions appear. We will have to wait and see how this is implemented in WhatsApp.
Admin Delete: Group admins will now be able to remove messages from everyone’s chats. This is aimed at any problematic messages which are shared in a Group.
File Sharing: In one of the most awaited features, WhatsApp is also increasing file sharing to support files up to 2GB so people can easily collaborate on project. Keep in mind that rival Telegram allows for 1.5GB files to be shared in one go.
Larger Voice Calls: WhatsApp will one-tap voice calling for up to 32 people in a group with an all new design. Right now the limit is eight users for voice/video calls.
Communities on WhatsApp is for “close-knit groups that need more tools to organise and manage their conversations,” according to the company. The idea is that these groups typically are organised around a common place or interest. For instance, it could be a number of WhatsApp Groups for parents from a particular school. Or the number of office WhatsApp Groups for an organisation.
Each Community on WhatsApp will have a description and menu of groups that people can choose to join. According to WhatsApp, this will help provide a structure and organisation to conversations among larger and more complex groups.
Communities will also bring more powerful tools for admins.
In future, admins will be able to share announcement messages that are sent to everyone across the different groups in a Community. They will also be able to control which groups can be included for an announcement message.
According to WhatsApp, with Communities people will receive updates sent to the entire Community and easily organise smaller discussion groups on what matters to them.
WhatsApp says it will empower Community admins and build new tools for them to manage conversations among their private groups. Users will get more control over chats including easy ways to report abuse, block accounts, and leave Communities they no longer want to be a part of.
Messages in Communities will remain end-to-end encrypted and phone numbers will be hidden from the Community at large. “We will rely on all available unencrypted information including the Community name, description, and user reports to take action against abuse in Communities,” the company said.