WhatsApp is making group chats better with Communities, Message Reactions, and more

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WhatsApp has become a big part of our daily lives. The company has proactively been updating and enhancing its features so that people can conveniently chat with each other. Especially post the COVID-19 pandemic, WhatsApp became a point of contact for everyone. It brought people, schools, societies, and more groups together during the pandemic and made our lives simpler. Believe it or not, the way we communicate has definitely changed after the pandemic and so further advancements in these areas are absolutely necessary.

WhatsApp is now looking to launch a Communities feature to achieve its vision of offering the best and easiest way for people to communicate. This will be primarily focused on organizations like schools, non-profits, restaurants, and local clubs.

As of now, WhatsApp has a limit of 256 members in a group and people can only be added using their phone numbers. The new Communities feature is an attempt to make the platform more like a social media network where many people can share information and connect with each other.

For example, a community can consist of all the parents of a school or all the employees at a workplace. Inside these communities, you can segregate specific groups that are devoted to something specific like having a group for marketing, human resources, finances, etc, in your work-related group.

“Communities are inherently private, which is why we will continue to protect messages with end-to-end encryption. This security technology has truly never been more necessary to protect people’s privacy and safety.”

People have been using WhatsApp in a similar format through the group feature but this can be really inconvenient sometimes. While the new feature will connect many people, the company also ensured that it will users’ privacy. Forwarding of messages will only be allowed to one group at a time to avoid the spread of harmful content.

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Similarly, your phone number will be visible to only admins and people in smaller groups. It will also be providing admins with more controls and powerful tools like announcement messages. The company’s blog post read, “Communities are inherently private, which is why we will continue to protect messages with end-to-end encryption. This security technology has truly never been more necessary to protect people’s privacy and safety.”

Along with the communities feature, the company has also announced improvements to WhatsApp groups. Following are the enhancements that will be rolling out with communities:

Image Credits: WhatsApp
  • Emoji Reactions- Similar to Instagram, now people can use emoji reactions to express how they feel about messages without sending an individual message.
  • Larger File Sharing- Now you will be able to share files of up to 2GB in size, making it easier for people to collaborate on projects.
  • Long Duration Voice Calls- To make talking also as convenient as chatting, the company is rolling out one-tap voice calling for up to 32 people.
  • Delete Option for Admin- Admins will also have the power to conveniently delete messages that are not advisable to be shared in the groups.

This rollout will be slow and the features will be available over the next couple of months. The focus of WhatsApp is to create stronger connections among close communities and also move forward with features that support this idea.

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