WhatsApp announces a big change in the way we use group chats
A big change in how WhatsApp works has been announced by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Facebook founder announced that WhatsApp Communities would be rolled out to the service.
Mr Zuckerberg says instant messaging has become “the center of our digital lives”. He says the new feature will help us communicate with different groups of people.
As well as having a number of communities – he used school and work as examples – users could then have smaller groups within them. This means that a school community could also have one for each class.
In a Facebook post, he also said further changes would be made to group chats. These include reactions, large file sharing, and larger group calls.
The change is also expected to have a ripple effect on Facebook and Instagram. He said it will be deployed in the “coming months”.
Mr. Zuckerberg said: “Today we start testing a major evolution of WhatsApp that we have been working on: WhatsApp Communities.
“It’s been clear for some time that the way we communicate online is changing. Most of us use social media and feeds to discover interesting content and stay up to date.
“But for a deeper level of interaction, messaging has become the center of our digital lives. It’s more intimate and private, and with encryption, it’s also more secure.
“Our messaging services are built around one-to-one text messaging – and that will remain at the core of what we do. But we’ve also been working to create the next generation of private messaging.
“With a focus on privacy, safety and security, we’ve added video chats, voice messages, stories, commerce, payments and more to WhatsApp and Messenger. With today’s launch today we take it a step further and allow people to not only communicate with close friends and contacts, but also with all the different communities in your life.
“We have created WhatsApp communities to make it easier to organize all your group chats and find information. You will be able to bring together different groups in one community – for example, in addition to individual groups for different classes, you could have a global community for parents of a school with a central place for announcements and tools for administrators.
“We’re also adding new features to groups on WhatsApp, including reactions, large file sharing and larger group calls. And because it’s WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption and security features will be included from the start.
“We’re going to start rolling this out slowly, but I expect this to be a significant development for WhatsApp and online communication in general. In the same way that social feeds have taken the core technology behind the internet and ‘ve made it so anyone can find people and content online, I think community messaging will take the core protocols behind one-to-one messaging and extend them so you can more easily communicate with groups of people to get things done together.
“We will also be building community messaging features for Messenger, Facebook and Instagram. I’m excited to see how this progresses as we start testing WhatsApp Communities today and roll them out over the next few months.”