WhatsApp announced this Thursday (26) that it will release the creation of communities, with the proposal to bring together groups that deal with related subjects to facilitate the organization of conversations. These spaces can gather up to 5,000 people.
Wanted, WhatsApp claims that changes to the application will be made gradually. Until this Thursday afternoon, the option to create a community was unavailable.
The feature has been offered in other countries since November. Meta, owner of WhatsApp, postponed the launch of the functionality in Brazil, after the Federal Public Ministry recommended the company to wait until 2023 to make it available, as a preventive measure against misinformation in the electoral context.
Community admin can send messages to all its members i.e. 5000 people. Until then, the reach was limited to 256 people in broadcast lists and groups.
It is also up to the administration of these communities to add or remove people, create or include groups within the community and moderate, with the power to delete messages and files considered abusive.
The update will also increase the maximum limit of participants in a group to 1,024 people, enable the creation of polls in conversations and allow video calls with up to 32 people present.
According to a report published on the WhatsApp blog, the purpose of the communities is to increase the security and privacy of organizations, which, with the functionality, would no longer depend on other software to manage various chats.
The launch of the features follows on from other updates to the app, which allowed reacting to messages with emoji, sharing larger files and allowing admins to kick members from groups. Russian competitor Telegram already offered these options.
Users can also prevent community-related abuse with the options below:
- Decide who can add them to communities
- Report abuse in chats
- block contacts
- leave communities
When it launched the feature last year, WhatsApp emphasized wanting to keep the focus on messaging, to distinguish it from social networks and Telegram. It will not be possible to search for communities, as it is possible to find channels with an unrestricted number of participants in the Russian competitor.
“Since conversations in these small communities are private, WhatsApp will continue to protect messages with end-to-end encryption so that only group members and no one else can see them,” the company said in a 2022 statement.
In addition to moderation by administrators, WhatsApp promises to dissolve communities involved in abuses, such as distributing child sexual abuse material or coordinating violence or human trafficking. Another possible sanction is the banning of members with harmful behavior.
“We will use all available unencrypted information, such as the Community name and description and user reports, to take appropriate action,” the company said in the same statement.
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