WhatsApp's new Communities feature aims to bring related group chats together

Standalone groups are getting some upgrades as well, including 32-person video calls.


WhatsApp is rolling out some new features, including one that's designed to bring related group chats together. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the Communities feature earlier this year, and the aim is to allow users to combine group chats “under one umbrella with a structure that works for them.” Similar tools are in the works for Instagram and Facebook.

Communities will be available to all WhatsApp users in the coming months. You'll be able to set up smaller group chats within a community to discuss things that matter to you and switch between them with ease. WhatsApp will offer admins "powerful new tools" to manage communities, such as the ability to broadcast announcements to all members and being able to choose which groups to include.

WhatsApp Communities

WhatsApp suggests that neighborhoods, workplaces and parents who have kids at the same school might bring groups together as part of a community. You can tap the Communities tab at the top of the Android app or the bottom of the screen on iOS to get started. You'll be able to start a community from the ground up or add existing groups to it.

The Communities feature sounds a bit like Facebook Groups (it bears similarities to Nextdoor and Discord too) albeit with the protection of end-to-end encryption. While Zuckerberg has been eyeing a community-driven model to reduce the emphasis on feeds across Meta's apps, there may be some negatives to making group chats act 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 may make it more difficult to keep a lid on falsehoods.

Elsewhere, WhatsApp is adding some new features to groups, even ones that aren't linked to a community. Polls are coming to groups, as is support for encrypted 32-person video calls, which Meta has been testing for the last several weeks. Additionally, groups now support up to 1,024 users.

WhatsApp new features for groups