WhatsApp is rolling out some new features, including one designed to bring related group chats together. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the Communities feature earlier this year, with the goal of allowing users to combine group chats “under one umbrella with a structure that works for them.” Similar tools are being worked on on Instagram and Facebook.
The forums will be available to all WhatsApp users in the coming months.
And you’ll be able to set up smaller group chats within the community to discuss and easily switch between the things that interest you, Engadget reports.
WhatsApp will offer administrators “powerful new tools” for managing communities, such as the ability to broadcast ads to all members and the ability to choose which groups to include.
WhatsApp suggests that neighborhoods, workplaces, and parents with children in the same school may bring groups together as part of a community.
You can click on the Communities tab at the top of the Android app or at the bottom of the screen on iOS to get started. You will be able to start a community from the ground up or add existing groups to it.
The Communities feature looks a bit like Facebook Groups (it bears similarities to Nextdoor and Discord too) albeit with end-to-end encryption protection.
While Zuckerberg has been eyeing a community-driven model to reduce the focus on feeds across Meta apps, there may be some downsides to making group chats work more like Facebook groups, where misinformation has proliferated in recent years.
In general, WhatsApp has fewer moderation tools due to the platform’s focus on encryption, which can make it difficult to hide lies.
Elsewhere, WhatsApp is adding some new features to groups, even those that aren’t connected to the community. Polls are coming to groups, as well as support for 32-person encrypted video calls, which Meta has been testing for the past several weeks. In addition, groups now support what Up to 1024 users.