WhatsApp unveiled new features on Thursday, April 14, starting with the upcoming launch of “Communities,” which will allow its admins to bring multiple discussion groups together in the same room, thus targeting a large number of people. Messaging, owned by the American Meta (Facebook, Instagram), intends to meet the needs of “certain structures, such as schools, local clubs or non-profit organizations”who “Now rely on WhatsApp to communicate safely and get organized”. The new feature must be tested for two months before it is rolled out internationally.
Today, WhatsApp chat groups remain limited to 256 people. But from now on, communities make it possible to bring together several existing groups in one place, such as the parents of students from different classes in the same school. Like a virtual bulletin board, only administrators can send messages that are end-to-end encrypted like traditional messages.
Communities can also be used for companies. “If a restaurant wants to form a group to share their menus or send out promotions, they can do so.”Jyoti Sood noted before clarifying that Meta had no intention of doing so “monetize” The municipalities.
In addition, WhatsApp will continue to develop discussion groups, the backbone of its operations:
- like the Facebook reaction palette, users can now reply to messages with emoji buttons;
- the size of shared files is increased to 2 GB and the maximum number of participants in a voice call is increased to 32 people;
- administrators “Groups can delete inappropriate or problematic messages for all members of the discussion”thereby strengthening their moderating role.
These new opportunities that are used ” In the coming weeks “according to the press release, recall the Telegram channels, a Russian messaging system that allows sending messages to large audiences, on public channels or in private discussions that require an invitation.
However, on WhatsApp, content can only be sent to one group at a time to avoid spam phenomena. Users also can’t search for communities to join via messaging: they must be part of a group, so they were added by an administrator. “Telegram enables conversations for hundreds of thousands of people; WhatsApp communities remain a private messaging service, allowing people to communicate privately with people or groups close to them.”explained Christina LoNigro, spokeswoman for WhatsApp, quoted by Agence France-Presse.
Meta has been widely criticized for moderation and transparency issues with its social networks, but also with its messaging systems like WhatsApp, which are all the more opaque because exchanges are private and encrypted. Messaging, which had more than two billion users worldwide as of February 2020, has often been criticized for being a space for spreading “fake news”.