WhatsApp Communities, a new addition aimed at large discussions similar to WhatsApp groups, is now available for Beta users. The Meta-owned platform announced WhatsApp Communities back in April as a feature that will introduce 32-person video calls, a 2 GB file sharing limit and even emoji reactions.
In their announcement, Mark Zuckerberg referred to the new feature as a “major evolution of WhatsApp”.
“Communities on WhatsApp will enable people to bring together separate groups under one umbrella with a structure that works for them. That way people can receive updates sent to the entire Community and easily organize smaller discussion groups on what matters to them,” reads part of Meta’s statement on WhatsApp Communities.
Once you have been added to a WhatsApp Community, not all discussions will take place in one chat. Only admins have the ability to share announcements to all Community members through the main announcement chat, which can support thousands of users.
Otherwise, members will be able to communicate with each other in smaller sub-chats that have been created or approved by the administrator. Currently, each Community can support up to 10 sub-chats, with each sub-chat supporting up to 512 users.
Once users have been invited to a Community, they will be able to join any sub-chat in the Community based on their interests. Unlike Telegram or Facebook where such communities are discoverable on the platform, WhatsApp users will have to be invited to a Community in order to join.
WhatsApp Communities will get a separate tab on WhatsApp, therefore you will know when the feature is available on your WhatsApp when you open it.
WABetaInfo reports WhatsApp is working on hiding the phone numbers of users in Communities, however, they are still visible at the moment for Beta users. If you want to jump on the bandwagon, WhatsApp Communities is currently live on WhatsApp Beta version 18.104.22.168
Once fully rolled out, WhatsApp Communities will definitely be the next evolution of WhatsApp Groups, with many possibilities. For instance, imagine a workplace where all employees, working remotely are present in one Community, but the smaller subgroups are divided according to departments so that members of one department share a common chat, while all the employees still get to keep up with what is happening through the main announcement chat that can support thousands of users.
All this is possible on a different tab away from your 1-v-1 personal chats so that your feed is not congested with many notifications at once making you overwhelmed and unable to keep up.