WhatsApp finally rolls out Communities to select users. What's new?
Four months after Mark Zuckerberg announced that WhatsApp users will get Communities, the popular instant messaging platform has started rolling out the feature to select beta users. According to WABetaInfo, the Communities tab has appeared for certain users who have updated to WhatsApp beta for Android v220.127.116.11. Communities let users create a group within a group and accommodate thousands of members.
Why does this story matter?
- After a long wait, WhatsApp Communities are finally here, and we are excited. During its announcement, Zuckerberg termed it a "major evolution of WhatsApp."
- From what we know about the feature so far, that seems like an apt description. Communities are expected to make WhatsApp more businesses and organizations friendly.
- From a personal chat platform to a business communications app - that's the evolution.
The Communities tab will replace the Camera one after updating
If you're among the users who have access to Communities, you'll see a new tab in place of the Camera tab on WhatsApp's main screen. The feature is only available to select Android beta users, so if you don't see a change after updating, you may not be one of the chosen ones. You can also try force closing the app and relaunching it.
Communities are an umbrella of related groups
Communities are like a group of groups, where you can find all related groups under one umbrella. One can join a community either through an invite link from a Community admin or when they are added manually. The groups within a community are called 'sub-groups.' At the moment, for you to access Communities, the feature should be available for you.
Every sub-group can have up to 512 members
If you see the Communities tab after updating the app, you can start by creating a community of up to 10 sub-groups with each capable of supporting up to 512 participants. It will be up to a member to choose which sub-group they want to join. The admins have wide-ranging powers, including the ability to disable a community.
Creating a community will automatically form an 'Announcement group'
When someone creates a community, a group called 'Announcement group' is created automatically by WhatsApp. Community admins will be able to use this group to send community-wide messages, which will be visible to members of all sub-groups. We had talked about WhatsApp working on letting members of sub-groups hide their phone numbers. This feature is currently not available.
Communities are also compatible with WhatsApp beta for Android 18.104.22.168
Communities are available on WhatsApp beta for Android 22.214.171.124. However, if you receive the 126.96.36.199 update from the Play Store, do not worry. It is also compatible with Communities. The feature is only available to select users as of now. We can expect WhatsApp to roll out the facility to more users in the coming months.