Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook and its parent company Meta Platforms, has announced that a “major evolution” of WhatsApp is now in the testing phase. Zuckerberg announced in a Facebook post that the company had begun testing WhatsApp Communities, a new form of communication on its platform. While WhatsApp Groups went beyond one-to-one messaging by bringing several people together, WhatsApp Communities will bring several groups together under a single umbrella.
These similar-interest groups will now be found under a single tab, alongside Chats, Status, and Calls. The company believes that this feature would be a significant advancement not only for WhatsApp but for online communication in general.
“We built WhatsApp Communities to make it much easier to organize all your group chats and find information. You’ll be able to bring different groups together into one community — for example, in addition to individual groups for different classes, you might have one overall community for parents at a school with a central place for announcements and tools for admins,” said Zuckerberg.
“This might be a school community with chats where important announcements for parents are shared and discussed, or a work community with chats to discuss different things with colleagues, or a neighborhood community to talk about what’s happening on your street or in your building,” he added.
Meta has invested billions of dollars in the Web3 world’s upcoming digital infrastructure, but until that comes to fruition, the Zuckerberg empire is considering messaging as a means of creating more intimate connections between users.
In addition, the new WhatsApp Communities tab will allow users to share sentiments and directives to larger group chats, with features such as 32-person group calls, emoji reactions, file sharing, moderation controls, admin tools, and much more.
The maximum file size that users will be able to share is now 2 GB, up from 100 MB earlier. The number of people allowed on a voice call has also increased from eight to 32.
“This could be a school community with chats where important announcements for parents are shared and discussed, a work community with chats to discuss various topics with coworkers, or a neighborhood community to discuss what’s going on on your street or in your building. Many people tell us that they want to use WhatsApp for this because it is the quickest way to stay in touch with people, but the product hasn’t been built in such a way that it makes this easy.”- He said.
“We’ll start slowly, but I expect this to be a significant evolution for WhatsApp and online communication in general. In the same way that social feeds took the basic technology of the internet and made it possible for anyone to find people and content online, I believe community messaging will take the basic protocols of one-to-one messaging and extend them to allow you to communicate more easily with groups of people to get things done together. We’ll also be developing community messaging features for Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram. I’m looking forward to seeing how this develops as we begin testing WhatsApp Communities today and roll it out over the next few months.”- He added further.