Whatsapp launches Communities feature in the UK - new group chat feature explained and other updates

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Head of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, also announced that a similar feature will be available on Facebook messenger and Instagram in the future

Whatsapp has begun to roll out a new ‘communities’ feature to its users situated in the UK. It allows users to have many group chats under a single topic which means they can share updates and more across the chats.

These topics can include the street you live, and more. It may be useful for parents of children at school, or those involved in groups such as neighbourhood watch. The Communities feature was announced back in April and has been in testing mode since, but has now passed all tests and is now live.

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In addition to the new Communities feature, Whatsapp has also slightly tweaked the video calling function so you can now have up to 32 participants in one call. Writing on Twitter, the head of Whatsapp, Will Cathcart, teased more features that users across the globe will start seeing, including polls and groups with up to 1024 people.

Cathcart said: “Like reactions, larger file sharing, and admin delete - we think these features will be particularly helpful for Communities but are available in any group! We’ve made significant upgrades to the chat experience while maintaining end-to-end encryption.

“This is a huge improvement over other apps and services that force organizations to share a copy of their private messages. We think Communities will solve a real need for close-knit groups all over the world and we’re excited to continue building great features to support them. Enjoy!”

Whatsapp is one of the most popular apps for messaging, and as of 2021, it had over 40 million active users in the UK. In a blog post announcing the rollout, the messaging app said: “With Communities, we’re aiming to raise the bar for how organisations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else.

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“The alternatives available today require trusting apps or software companies with a copy of their messages – and we think they deserve the higher level of security provided by end-to-end encryption. Once you’re in a community, you can easily switch between available groups to get the information you need, when you need it, and admins can send important updates to everyone in the Community.”

The head of Meta, who owns Whatsapp, Mark Zuckerberg said: “Today we’re launching Communities on WhatsApp. It makes groups better by enabling sub-groups, multiple threads, announcement channels, and more.

“We’re also rolling out polls and 32-person video calling too. All secured by end-to-end encryption so your messages stay private.”

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