WhatsApp has officially launched Communities, a new feature that offers larger, more structured discussion groups and was first tested earlier this year. Communities is designed to help organizations, clubs, schools, and other private groups better communicate and stay organized. They have admin controls, support for sub-groups and announcement groups, 32-person voice and video chats, larger-file sharing, emoji reactions, and polls.
Communities can accommodate groups of up to 1,024 members and provide end-to-end encryption. Some Community features, such as emoji reactions, large-file sharing (up to 2GB), and the ability for admins to remove messages, had already made their way to the WhatsApp platform prior to today’s debut. Polls, 32-person video calls, and greater group sizes will now be supported on WhatsApp outside of Communities, according to the company.
Communities are organized around a central announcement group that notifies every one of the most significant messages. Members, however, can only speak in small sub-groups that the admin has permitted. WhatsApp also emphasized the encryption features of the Communities feature in a statement, stating that the business is “aiming to raise the bar for how organizations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else.”