BrandArena: Meta announces global launch of WhatsApp Communities

Friday 4 November 2022

Meta announces global launch of WhatsApp Communities

In an attempt to help its users create larger, more organised discussion groups, Meta yesterday announced the global release of its WhatsApp Communities. 

Communities were first spotted by XDA Developers in October, after which WABetaInfo reported the next month that the feature is under development and will be available in a future update on WhatsApp beta for Android and iOS.

In April, Meta started testing the feature as a new tab on the app, to a small, selected number of groups, that will see thousands participate in a Community that hosts multiple sub-group chats.

The idea is that various organisations, from a school to a business whose employees communicate on WhatsApp, can more easily organize discussions and have their admins message everyone across different groups.

Mack Zuckerberg explains how WhatsApp Communities work;
  • How to set up WhatsApp Communities
  • Tap on the new “Communities” tab at the top-right corner of the chats page on Android or at the bottom on iOS.
  • Tap “New Community” to set up a new one from scratch or you can “Add existing groups” into a community.
  • Once in a community, users can easily switch between available groups to get the information, when they need it, and admins can send important updates to everyone in the Community. 
If you’re used to Slack channels you’d know WhatsApp Communities doesn’t have much difference.

The distinction, however, is that it includes new tools like admin controls, support for sub-groups and announcement groups, 32-person voice and video calls, larger file sharing, emoji reactions, and polls.

It is intended to improve communication and organisation within organisations, clubs, schools, and other private groups.

As an extension of the Instant-messaging app, the feature will see each community accommodate up to 1024 members and provide end-to-end encryption for their own groups.

Given that both the new feature and Facebook Groups allow for features like sub-groups, file sharing, admin functionality, and more, it’s natural that comparisons would be drawn between the two.

WhatsApp Communities are supposed to be used by users who may already be connected in real life, in contrast to Facebook Groups, which are commonly used by disconnected strangers who share a shared interest.

Due to the fact that WhatsApp groups are organised on phone numbers rather than user names, members of these groups often already know each other before joining the chat. But the phone numbers will be hidden from the rest of the Community and shown only to administrators and members of the same subgroups as you.

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