Today we are excited to share our vision for a new feature we are adding to WhatsApp called Communities. Since WhatsApp launched in 2009, we’ve been focused on how we can help people have the next best thing to an in-person conversation when they want to talk to an individual or a group of friends or family. We also frequently hear from people who are using WhatsApp to communicate and coordinate within a community.
Organizations like schools, local clubs, and non-profit organizations now rely on WhatsApp to communicate securely and get things done – especially since the pandemic forced us all to find creative ways to work together while apart. Given lots of feedback we’ve received, we think there’s more we can do to make it easier to help people manage these busy conversations among these kinds of groups.
Here’s where Communities comes in. 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. Communities will also contain powerful new tools for admins, including announcement messages that are sent to everyone and control over which groups can be included.
We think Communities will make it easier for a school principal to bring all the parents of the school together to share must-read updates and set up groups about specific classes, extracurricular activities, or volunteer needs.
We’re also making a number of improvements to how groups work on WhatsApp — whether or not they are part of a Community. We think these will help people share in new ways and reduce overload in larger chats. These features are rolling out in the coming weeks so people can start trying them out even before Communities are ready.
- Feedback – Emoji reactions are coming to WhatsApp so people can quickly share their opinion without flooding chats with new messages.
- Admin Delete – Group admins will be able to remove errant or problematic messages from everyone’s chats.
- File Sharing – We’re increasing file sharing to support files up to 2 gigabytes so people can easily collaborate on projects.
- Larger Voice Calls – We’ll introduce one-tap voice calling for up to 32 people with all new design for those times when talking live is better than chatting.
Communities are inherently private, which is why we will continue to protect messages with end-to-end encryption. This security technology has truly never been more necessary to protect people’s privacy and safety. Close knit groups — schools, members of a religious congregation, even businesses — very much want and need to be able to have secure and private conversations without WhatsApp monitoring their every word.
While other apps are building chats for millions of thousands of people, we’re choosing to focus on supporting the groups that are part of our daily lives. It’s early days for Communities on WhatsApp and building the new features to support them will be a major focus of ours for the year to come. We can’t wait to get Communities in people’s hands and are looking forward to people’s feedback.