Meta has announced a bunch of features for WhatsApp, including the rollout of the new ‘Communities’ feature for iOS and Android, which allows you to join multiple groups within an umbrella that’s related to the topic at hand, such as schools, neighborhoods, and more.
In a blog post (opens in new tab), WhatsApp is also expanding the number of users you can add to a single group up to 1024, alongside being able to make video calls with up to 32 people if needed.
Groups on Facebook have only grown in use in the last few years, especially during the pandemic in 2020, and there have been enhancements to it lately to try to make it a justified rival to Slack and Discord.
However, Communities could be the standout feature on WhatsApp for those who aren’t keen on using Discord or Facebook Messenger to keep in touch with family and friends.
Communities look to be the natural evolution of Groups in WhatsApp – topics change all the time when you’re in groups, from games to movies and what candy you’ve been eating in the last couple of hours. With the ability to be a part of multiple groups within one community, you’ll be able to chat with relevant people about more specific topics.
This could help if you’re a parent and you need to keep up with updates for your children’s school for example. Groups could exist in a ‘School’ community for bus delays, term times, activities, and more, without being part of one big group where you could miss some important information.
However, there are also some new features that’ll both benefit the groups you’ve been in for years, and any new Communities you join. File sharing of up to 2GB could be a big help if you need to quickly share a large PDF, for example, while admins of groups can now delete messages from other users.
These improvements are a good step for WhatsApp, and while Communities is slowly appearing on devices around the world, it would be great to see this appear on its Windows, macOS, and web apps as well to help make the feature easier to access when needed.