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By Adedapo Adesanya
Meta-owned instant messaging app WhatsApp will get a new feature called Communities that will allow users to participate in larger chat groups.
Groups aims to serve as a more feature-rich replacement for larger group chats with added support for tools such as file sharing, 32-person group calls, emoji reactions, as well as tools administration and moderation controls, among others.
WhatsApp will also allow group admins to delete unwanted group chat messages for everyone.
“Communities on WhatsApp will allow people to bring together separate groups under one umbrella with a structure that works for them. This way, people can receive updates sent to the whole community and easily organize smaller discussion groups about what matters to them,” WhatsApp wrote in a blog post on Thursday.
With the reactions feature, people can instantly react to messages with emojis by long-pressing the chat.
Additionally, people will be able to send up to 2GB of files compared to the current 100MB file sharing that users can do at the moment.
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“Organizations like schools, local clubs and nonprofits now rely on WhatsApp to communicate securely and get things done – especially as the pandemic has forced us all to find creative ways to work. together while being apart.
“We believe communities will make it easier for a principal to bring together all the parents in the school to share must-see updates and create groups about specific classes, extracurricular activities, or volunteer needs,” adds the blog.
For his part, the CEO of Meta, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg, explained that “it has been clear for a while 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,” he added.
There will be a difference between Facebook Groups and WhatsApp Communities, with the latter focusing on more private and personal groups, including those where members may already be connected in other ways, including in the real world.
According to the head of WhatsApp, Mr. Will Cathcart of the difference, “we are based on phone numbers”.
“When you interact with people on WhatsApp, it is necessary to exchange your phone number with them, so it points to the communities where you know these people in real life.
“Maybe you don’t have all the phone numbers for all the parents in your child’s class, but you’re comfortable interacting with them that way,” he explained.
In Communities, users will also be able to see the phone numbers of other people who participate in subgroups with them, or when they interact with each other.
To get started with Communities, admins will be able to link a pre-existing group chat to the new feature or create a new group from scratch.