The popular messaging app, WhatsApp has announced the launch of a new feature, Communities, which hopes to cater to organizations and actual communities by offering larger and more structured discussion groups.
The feature shares some similarities with the normal WhatsApp group created by end-users who wish to create a formal community for their organizations like schools, churches, offices etc.
The difference, however, is that Communities bring in more exciting features which were not available in the normal WhatsApp groups.
Some of the new features which have been added to the messaging platform include admin controls, support for sub-groups and announcement groups, 32-person voice and video calls, larger file sharing, emoji reactions, and polls.
Unlike WhatsApp groups which can only accommodate a little above 500 members, communities themselves have been designed to support groups of up to 1024 users and offer end-to-end encryption.
Some users of WhatsApp app groups have reported the number of group members as a critical issue which has negatively affected the use of WhatsApp as an official messaging platform. A rival messaging app, Telegram has been the preferred app due to this issue as it supports a good number of members per group.
While the WhatsApp communities is a copy of Facebook communities and share some similar features like sub-groups, file sharing, admin functionality and more, they still have some differences in the type of users.
Facebook Groups are most times, meant to draw strangers who have the same passion or interests and can be members of a group just by clicking the ‘Join’ button.
WhatsApp Communities on the other hand is designed for members who already share an actual connection in the real world.
Another difference is that while Facebook communities are discovered just by typing a name in the search bar, WhatsApp communities can only be accessed when you are invited by an admin.
WhatsApp has made it easier for existing Groups to be moved to Communities by their admins if they want and like groups, can send out links if they want to add more people to their communities.