Meta is actively investing in their metaverse and we see it in updates they usually come up with.
WhatsApp which is under the auspices of Meta recently announced a new feature called “Communities”.
This feature would allow separate groups to come together under one umbrella to form a community.
As of 25th August 2022, WhatsApp rolled out this feature for beta app users. This feature will soon be rolled out in various countries gradually.
What is WhatsApp Community Feature?
This feature will provide users with the ability to organize and bring related groups together under one umbrella. Community admins can reach members with important updates by sending announcements, and community members can stay connected by exploring and chatting in groups that matter to them. Members can receive updates sent to the entire community and easily organize smaller discussion groups on what matters to them.
This feature will allow you to create a WhatsApp community and add up to 50 groups. You can also add up to 5000 members to the announcement group.
In addition, only administrators will have the ability to share announcement messages to the entire Community through the main announcement group. The announcement group will initially support five thousand users. Community members are only able to chat in smaller groups that have been created or approved by the admins.
Note: Communities on WhatsApp is available in limited countries to beta testers and may not be available to you yet. No worries, it will be available to everyone soon.
WhatsApp Community Feature and other platforms
Messaging platform, WhatsApp has been working on this feature for some time which is the next big step for the platform. The feature is meant to take advantage of WhatsApp’s existing end-to-end encryption as well as users’ increasing desire to join private communities that are separate from larger social platforms, such as Facebook.
Safe to say that this will be strong competition for telegram because they have a feature almost like this.
Mark Zuckerberg when announcing the news of this update said, “It’s been clear for a while that the way we communicate online is changing”, “Most of us use social networks and feeds to discover interesting content and stay updated. But for a deeper level of interaction, messaging has become the centre of our digital lives. It’s more intimate and private, and with encryption it’s more secure too,” he added.
WhatsApp community feature will also allow you to host sub-groups.
For example, a tourism agency could create a sub-group discussion for people interested in paragliding. Another subgroup could be for people interested in swimming, another for people interested in hiking etc.
You might be wondering what the difference is between WhatsApp community and Facebook group. They are similar, but they don’t serve the same purpose. Facebook group is often used by strangers who share a common interest. WhatsApp communities on the other hand focus on more private and personal groups with members who are connected in one way or the other in the real world.
The head of WhatsApp Will Cathcart explained that WhatsApp communities is phone number based, unlike Facebook groups. “When you’re interacting with people on WhatsApp, there’s a necessary comfort with exchanging your phone number with them. So that points towards communities where you know these people in real life,” he says. “Maybe you don’t have every phone number of every parent in your kid’s class, but you’re comfortable interacting with them in that way”, he added.
In Communities, users will also be able to see the phone numbers of the others who participate in the sub-groups with them, or when they engage with each other one-on-one. This makes the product feel more personal than something like Facebook Groups, which can often feel too large and impersonal.
Another vital thing that differentiates WhatsApp communities from Facebook groups is that Facebook Groups can be public or discoverable on the platform, while WhatsApp Communities are neither. This means that you cannot search for or find Communities on WhatsApp – you have to be invited to join them.
WhatsApp Community Feature for Users
You will have control over being added to Communities. In WhatsApp’s settings, you can already decide who can add you to a group chat; now those same settings will also apply to Communities. You can report abuse, block accounts and leave Communities when you no longer wish to participate. In Communities, you can also silently leave a group, which doesn’t notify other community members.
Will there be end-to-end encryption in WhatsApp Communities?
Yes. According to meta, communities are “inherently private” which is why they will continue to protect messages with end-to-end encryption.
This security technology is more important than ever to protect people’s privacy and provide security for communities as people in these groups deserve to have conversations without WhatsApp monitoring them.
How to Create a community on WhatsApp
1. Open WhatsApp > tap More options > New community.
- Alternatively, tap New chat > New community.
- You can also navigate to the community tab > New community.
2. Enter the community name, description, and profile photo.
- The community name limit is 24 characters.
- Your description should provide members with an idea of what your community is about.
- You can add a community icon by tapping the Camera You can choose Take Photo, Choose Photo, or Search Web to add an image. Once set, the icon will appear next to the community in the Chats tab.
3. Tap the green arrow icon to add existing groups or create a new group.
4. To add groups to your community:
- Tap Create New Group or Add Existing Groups.
- Create a New Group: Enter the group subject. This will be the name of the group that all participants will see.
- You can create up to 10 new groups.
- You can add a group icon as well as a short description of the group.
- You can add participants later.
- Add Existing Groups: You can choose to add groups you’re currently an admin of to your community. Select which groups to add then tap the green arrow icon.
5. When finished adding groups to your community, tap the green check mark icon.
- You can add up to 50 groups in addition to the announcement group.
- You can add up to 5,000 members to a community announcement group.
- Groups are open for any community member to join.
- A community announcement group will automatically be created for your community. This is a space where community admins can send messages to all community members in the announcement group.
Meta in an announcement blog post stated that while other platforms and messaging apps are focused on mass-producing chats for hundreds of thousands of people, WhatsApp is choosing to focus on supporting smaller groups that are part of the daily lives of people.
This feature is still in its early days and we look forward to hearing feedback from people when they get their hands on it.
As we said, Communities have begun rolling out and will soon be available to users worldwide.
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