WhatsApp launches Communities, a new way of group messaging

As WhatsApp has become widely used around the world, many users have taken advantage of the app's encrypted group communications as a way to connect and coordinate across large organizations. Maybe you already use WhatsApp to stay in touch with colleagues, your favorite volunteer organization, or your university's alumni group. Now, with the launch of WhatsApp Communities feature, these conversations can be even more streamlined.

Meta announced the new community features on April 14, providing a community overview as part of a larger upcoming update to WhatsApp. "Given the amount of feedback we received, we thought we could do more to help people more easily manage busy conversations between groups like this," the company wrote in a blog post.

Communities will be somewhere between a robust group chat and company-wide Slack. You can send messages to the entire group, or administrators can create smaller subgroups. For example, your local volunteer group's community might have separate subgroups for fundraising, member outreach, or events you're organizing. Other features include group calls with up to 32 people, file sharing, and more. TechCrunch reports that the community isn't yet available outside of testing involving a limited group of users, but the feature promises to improve your group messaging experience.

How will WhatsApp Communities work?


According to TechCrunch, users who wish to create a WhatsApp community can easily do so by adding members to the community individually or by sending an invitation link to a pre-existing group. Each community will have a main announcement group where only administrators can post, and smaller subgroups where members can chat freely. For example, your apartment building's community might include a subgroup for rooftop garden maintenance and another for event planning. These subgroups can be created or approved by administrators.

If you are a community manager, you can also approve which members are included in the community, as well as any messages shared within the community. (This might come in handy, for example, for that grumpy neighbor who always complains about compost collection.) Across the community, users will also gain new contact information. Some of the new features will include group calling with up to 32 members, emoji reactions, and file sharing.

Why are there no communities on my WhatsApp?

If you can't find the feature in the WhatsApp app, it might be because the update hasn't arrived on your phone yet - it's only in test mode for specific groups. Once the feature is officially launched and these tests are completed, you can easily check to make sure your WhatsApp app is up to date by heading to the App Store and clicking "Update" if available. For now, stay vigilant and do your best to control chaotic building group chats.