Community features announced for hosting group chats

Meta subsidiary WhatsApp has announced new tools for organizing and managing chats. WhatsApp is still – often to my chagrin – the first port of call when it comes to exchanging ideas with different people in a group. In the future, members of the messaging service will have the option to join communities, according to WhatsApp. They are also working on privacy and communications security issues for group chats.

A simple group discussion is often no longer sufficient for the organization of clubs or other teams. WhatsApp communities can therefore be imagined as a superior authority to groups. Communities provide a description and individual groups that interested parties can then join. This should allow for better organization in larger and more complex groups.

During the reorganization, administrators receive new tools. They are able to create and manage communities. And they also have control over which groups are accepted into the community. It doesn’t matter if it’s an existing group or you’re creating a new one. Community administrators can remove groups or even members from a community and remove inappropriate or abusive discussions.

Improvements have also been made from the user’s point of view. So far, users can decide who can add them to a group. The same goes for communities. Users can report abuse, block accounts, and even leave communities they don’t want to be part of. A new feature is that group members can leave a group unnoticed and other members are not notified.

The maximum group size varies according to the needs of the organization. It’s quite vague. In reference to other messaging services, we certainly refer to Telegram, we have “deliberately” decided that we cannot search for communities or find other communities.

In the parent community, it is possible for community administrators to send messages to all community members through a so-called “announcement group”. You can certainly reach people on the order of several thousand users with this, who in turn only exchange information in the smaller subgroups.

They also offer a glimpse of the future: as soon as administrators and users receive additional functions, probably administration tools, etc., they plan to gradually expand the size of the groups. The forwarding function remains limited in reference to the fact that private chats must remain private. Already forwarded messages can only be forwarded to one group instead of the previous five. This is intended to thwart the spread of potential misinformation on a large scale.

The phone number remains the same, it is only accessible to other users in the same group. There is a new feature: it remains hidden from other community users, but not from community administrators. WhatsApp claims to want to prevent unwanted contacts, but other services such as Telegram have solved this problem in a much more elegant way – without a phone number.

Community administrators should also use the direct line to WhatsApp and are encouraged to report problematic communities and messages. Basically, you’re saving your own instances and hoping someone will snitch. It is hoped that various materials on child abuse, acts of violence or even human trafficking and their broadcasters will be blocked in due course. This applies to individual members of the community as well as their administrators and the potential dissolution of entire communities.

Any other adjustments that are made in this course? Users can give reactions to various posts in the form of emojis. It has long been rumored that Telegram introduced the feature months ago. Admins can delete other people’s posts. The file size limit for shared files is increased to 2 GB. WhatsApp also allows larger group calls with up to 32 people.

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