Meta announced several features for WhatsApp, including the launch of the new ‘Communities’ feature for iOS and Android, which allows you to join multiple groups within an umbrella related to the topic at hand, such as schools, neighborhoods and more.
On 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, as well as being able to make video calls with up to 32 people if needed.
Facebook groups have only grown in use in recent years, especially during the 2020 pandemic, and there have been improvements lately to try and make it a justified rival to Slack and Discord.
However, Communities can be the standout feature on WhatsApp for those who don’t like using Discord or Facebook Messenger to stay in touch with family and friends.
Communities seem to be the natural evolution of Groups on WhatsApp – topics change all the time when you’re in groups, from games to movies and what sweets you’ve had in the last few hours. With the ability to be part of multiple groups within a community, you’ll be able to chat with relevant people about more specific topics.
This can help if you’re a parent and need to keep up with your child’s school updates, for example. Groups can exist in a ‘School’ community for bus delays, class schedules, activities and more, without being part of a large group where you might miss some important information.
However, there are also some new features that will benefit the groups you’ve been a part of for years and the new Communities you’ve joined. Sharing files up to 2GB can be a big help if you need to quickly share a large PDF, for example, while group admins can now delete messages from other users.
These improvements are a good step forward for WhatsApp, and while Communities is slowly showing up on devices around the world, it would be great to see this show up in your Windows, macOS, and web apps to help make it easier to access the feature when you need it.