WhatsApp Announces Communities: Group Chat on Steroids

Communities are basically group chat to end all group chats


Group chats on WhatsApp are great, but they are not without their limits. Rumors of “Communities” – a feature that would allow users to create groups of groups – only started making the rounds late last year. January brought more evidence of the feature where the first mentions of Community Home were found in a WhatsApp beta. Today we finally get an official announcement confirming that the potentially changing chat experience will soon start arriving.

Mark Zuckerberg even took to his Facebook page to announce that WhatsApp Communities has entered the testing phase. The feature appears as a new tab (like Status and Calls) in the app and is set to be rolled out slowly over the coming weeks.

Multiple groups will be able to come together under one community, facilitating the sending of notifications and updates to all participants at once. It sounds ideal for organizations like schools, local clubs and non-profit organizations that can contain tens or even hundreds of WhatsApp groups.


Since its inception, WhatsApp has been a great platform to connect with friends and family without a lot of distractions (no global feeds or posts from people who are not on your contact list) from strangers. But the Meta-owned app is now much more than just a messaging platform in many parts of the world – it’s used for business transactions, online meetings and more. And many of these organizations are limited in what they can do.


WhatsApp’s shielded nature – where every group chat is like a cubicle from everything else – has become an obstacle for people who want to do more. And it does not help that groups are limited to 256 participants, without the possibility of creating channels with much larger capacity (unlike Telegram). Communities will address many of these issues without compromising end-to-end encryption and security tools that have made WhatsApp one of the most popular messaging services available.


WhatsApp also gets some more interesting features for group chat (both inside and outside communities). First, administrators will now be able to delete messages sent from everyone in a group. We also see some limitations in the app increasing, such as allowing users to share large files (up to 2 GB) at once and hold group conference calls with up to 32 participants. Finally, WhatsApp introduces reactions for emoji lovers, starting with about six smileys (including thumbs up) – developers are working to expand it to include more emoji and skin tones.

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