WhatsApp is pushing new features, one of which is meant to bring similar group chats together. The Communities feature was revealed earlier this year and tested by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with the goal of allowing users to connect group conversations “under one umbrella with a structure that works for them.” Features similar are currently in the pipeline for Instagram and Facebook.
In the next months, all WhatsApp users will be able to access Communities. You’ll be able to easily move between smaller group chats within a community to discuss topics that are important to you. WhatsApp will provide administrators with “powerful new tools” for managing communities, such as the option to broadcast notifications to all members and select which groups to include.
WhatsApp demonstrates that neighborhoods, jobs, and parents with children in the same school may bring together groups as part of a community. To get started, touch the Communities tab at the top of the Android app or the bottom of the screen on iOS. You’ll be able to create new communities or join existing ones.
The Communities feature is comparable to Facebook Groups (as well as Nextdoor and Discord), but with the added security of end-to-end encryption. While Zuckerberg is interested in a community-driven model to minimize the reliance on feeds across Meta’s applications, there may be some drawbacks to making group chats more like Facebook Groups, where disinformation has thrived in recent years. Given the platform’s emphasis on encryption, WhatsApp has fewer moderation options in general, that might make it more challenging to keep fake stories at bay.
Also, WhatsApp is introducing new features to groups that aren’t affiliated with a community. Groups will soon include polls, as well as functionality for encrypted 32-person video conversations, which Meta has been testing for many weeks. Groups can now accommodate up to 1,024 users.
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