WhatsApp is officially launching Communities today, with Mark Zuckerberg confirming the update has begun rolling out. We first heard the news of Communities in April, followed up by a quiet beta in August. Since then, WhatsApp has kept the feature close to its chest. That changes today.
Bringing groups together
We all know what WhatsApp groups are. More often than not, they’re filled with far too many people, making your phone go ‘PING’ every five minutes or so. Communities are like that on a far larger scale. Just be ready to have your fingers hovered over that mute button.
Communities can consist of ten groups, all mashed up into one giant supergroup. The usefulness of which is important to large groups like neighbourhoods, schools, and companies. Each group added to a Community is known as a ‘sub-group’, each able to hold 1,024 users, a feature that was included in the update today.
Newcomers to Communities are given the choice of which sub-groups to join, based on whatever interests them most. If they’d like to back out, they can do so without needing to leave the Community at large. Each Community has an extra announcements page, giving the admins a place to post for all Community members to see.
As mentioned earlier, packaged with the Communities update is the ability to create groups with up to 1,023 other members. That’ll translate to Communities as well, doubling the number of people allowed in a sub-group than the beta test initially allowed. The feature isn’t limited to Communities either. Regular non-Community groups are able to add more users too.
WhatsApp is also adding polls to the platform, usable in chat. Polls allow for up to 12 choices and a title, letting all those in a chat vote on an option.
Lastly, WhatsApp has added 32-person video calls which… does exactly what it says it does on the tin.
At the time of writing, the update hadn’t been released in South Africa. We can’t say exactly when it will come, though we know it’ll be soon, according to Meta’s blog post.