WhatsApp has unveiled a feature called Communities, which it says will enable users to place several group chats together under one topic and share updates more effectively.
The Meta-owned messaging app said it would begin rolling out the feature slowly and as a test, but Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg said the change was an “important evolution” for WhatsApp.
The new tool will allow users to organise different group chats together under a single main topic, for example, their children’s school or the street they live on, with Community admins able to share messages with everyone and have control over which groups can be included.
“We built WhatsApp Communities to make it much easier to organise all your group chats and find information,” Mr Zuckerberg said.
“You’ll be able to bring different groups together into one community – for example, in addition to individual groups for different classes, you might have one overall community for parents at a school with a central place for announcements and tools for admins.
“We’re going to start rolling this out slowly, but I expect this to be an important evolution for WhatsApp and online communication overall.
“In the same way that social feeds took the basic technology behind the internet and made it so anyone could find people and content online, I think community messaging will take the basic protocols behind one-to-one messaging and extend them so you can communicate more easily with groups of people to get things done together.”
A similar Community feature will also be introduced on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram in the future, Mr Zuckerberg added.
Alongside the Communities feature, WhatsApp has announced a number of other updates coming to group chats, including the ability to use emoji reactions in response to specific messages, an increase in file sharing to now support up to 2GB of material and voice calls that can now support up to 32 people.