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WhatsApp’s new ‘Communities’ feature is like a messaging-based social network

Do your WhatsApp groups need groups? Meta thinks so…

[Source photo: Meta]

WhatsApp has announced that it is adding a new feature to the platform that aims to better help organize and manage multiple, similar group chats users are part of. The new feature is called Communities and will allow users to sort and compile existing group chats into one larger collective.

Announcing the new feature, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained, “We built WhatsApp Communities to make it much easier to organize all your group chats and find information. You’ll be able to bring different groups together into one community–for example, in addition to individual groups for different classes, you might have one overall community for parents at a school with a central place for announcements and tools for admins.”

What’s interesting about the new Communities feature is it sounds a lot like your average social media platform in many ways, only a bit more exclusive. But that’s by design and is likely a semi-acknowledgement from Meta that, in recent years, people have turned to group threads in messaging apps to share their most personal news or important updates instead of posting them to their social media feeds where ever single follower, many of whom the user has probably never met in real life, can see.

[Image: courtesy of Meta]

That being said, it’ll be interesting to see if Communities catches on, as it’s essentially just a big group thread for multiple smaller groups. What WhatsApp users probably are guaranteed to be excited about is that the company has also announced emoji reactions are coming to the platform, so now instead of having to reply to every message, you can just react with a, for example, quick thumbs up when appropriate.

Zuckerberg says the Communities feature in WhatsApp will begin to roll out “slowly” over the coming months. But the feature won’t be exclusive to WhatsApp forever. Meta is also working on bringing it to its other apps that have messaging features, including Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram.


Michael Grothaus is a novelist, journalist, and former screenwriter. His debut novel EPIPHANY JONES is out now from Orenda Books. You can read more about him at MichaelGrothaus.com More

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