In the past year, we have seen the ebbs and flows of the tech giant Meta. Despite all the company's ebbs, Zuckerberg still has some significant plans for Meta and all its platforms. One of these plans is to make some of its social platforms the "next best thing" to in-person exchanges.

Here's where WhatsApp comes in. Amongst the numerous ways in which Meta has found ways to replace physical exchanges with exchanges on social media, WhatsApp Communities is definitely one of the best. Want to know why?

Well, look no further because media update's Lara Smit is giving you the update on WhatsApp's latest feature here.

Let's log into the chat:

What exactly are WhatsApp Communities?

WhatsApp Communities allow people to gather multiple separate groups by placing them into one larger group. These communities are usually created to host multiple conversations about the same interest or topic.

Unlike groups on other social media platforms, WhatsApp Communities work at a smaller scale — making conversations on this platform more intimate and private. Here, like-minded people can be brought together to host a variety of organised discussions about a subject that they are passionate about.

Who is it for?

According to WhatsApp's blog, this feature was inspired by the further digitisation of society due to the pandemic. This is because isolation from the pandemic led to a reliance on digital applications — like Whatsapp — as coordination and communication tools for businesses and organisations.

Therefore, WhatsApp Communities was designed with the intention of streamlining and improving the management of the communication processes of these groups.

This feature is particularly useful for small organisations for the following reasons:

1. It organises communication
All communication happens in one place but without the problem of having one group cluttered with multiple conversations. Instead, a small organisation's team can be compartmentalised into groups in accordance with their departments.

Therefore, dialogue within groups will be consistent and easy to follow. Additionally, no unnecessary groups will be made as admins can control which groups are included in the community.

2. Communication is instant and efficient
Admins can share important updates and information instantly across all groups that are in a WhatsApp Community. Furthermore, you may have noticed that WhatsApp now has an added feature of emoji reactions to messages to simplify responses.

Now people can just react to a message instead of typing a response. This is faster and ensures that chats aren't cluttered with unnecessary messages. How neat!

3. Projects can be shared
Files of up to two gigabytes can now be shared on these groups — making it easy for professionals to send projects to one another.

4. Meetings can be held
Group voice calls can be held in these communities with up to 32 people at a time. This makes it quick and easy to host online meetings.

5. Communities can keep things professional
If any messages or media appear on these groups that are unprofessional or troublesome, admins have the ability to delete these messages and remove any problematic users. Additionally, any group members can block accounts, report abuse and leave groups that they don't want to be a part of.

However, this new feature isn't just beneficial for small organisations. It can also be used by the average Joe. Whether a person is planning functions like a wedding, party or would like to host discussions about shared interests like books, games, or sports — these communities are an ideal way to plan and discuss different aspects of an event or topic.

What about my privacy?

These communities are just as private as the WhatsApp Groups that we are familiar with.

Messages within these groups will be protected with end-to-end encryption, which essentially means that the only people that will see those messages are the ones that belong to those groups. Additionally, information like the phone numbers of group members can also only be seen by fellow group members.

Another noteworthy privacy feature is the limit that is put on forwarding messages. This limit is created with the notion that messages will be less widespread and that the information that they carry can be contained to a small number of individuals.

What really sets WhatsApp Communities apart in terms of privacy though is that people won't be able to search for, discover and join new communities. Instead, these communities are created with exclusivity and only allows admins can decide who should be in the groups.

Lastly (and WhatsApp gets major privacy points for this one), it has also added a feature that allows people to discreetly exit from the group as they can choose to leave it without having a notification sent to the group about their departure. This makes the silent escape a possibility for the more private peeps.

What do you think about WhatsApp's new Communities feature? Let us know in the comments.

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Want to find out more about your privacy on WhatsApp? Then be sure to read our article, Five myths about WhatsApp's privacy updates busted.
*Image courtesy of Canva