(Reuters) – WhatsApp is testing a new feature known as Communities to organize groups in bigger buildings that might be utilized by workplaces or faculties, the messaging service owned by Meta Platforms stated on Thursday.
WhatsApp head Will Cathcart stated the feature would deliver collectively groups, that are capped at 256 customers, underneath greater umbrellas the place directors may ship alerts to a neighborhood of hundreds.
“This is basically oriented on the communities you are already part of in your life which are doing personal communication,” stated Cathcart in an interview with Reuters, citing Salesforce-owned Slack or Microsoft Teams as comparable sorts of communication.
He stated there have been no present plans to cost for the new feature, which is being beta examined with a small variety of international communities, however didn’t rule out providing “premium options to enterprise” sooner or later.
The messaging service, which is end-to-end encrypted and has about 2 billion customers, stated the Communities feature would even be end-to-end encrypted.
WhatsApp has grappled with abuses together with bulk messaging and the unfold of misinformation and hate speech. Cathcart stated customers wouldn’t find a way to search for completely different Communities on WhatsApp and that it could use anti-abuse instruments and safeguards like forwarding limits for the new feature.
WhatsApp stated there would even be adjustments to its Groups feature earlier than the launch of Communities. It stated it was including the flexibility for group directors to take away problematic messages from everybody’s chat, introducing voice calling for up to 32 folks, growing file sharing to 2 gigabytes and including emoji reactions to messages.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated in a Thursday put up that Communities can be rolled out over the approaching months. He stated Meta can be constructing neighborhood messaging options for Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.
Meta additionally plans to roll out end-to-end encryption throughout the opposite messaging providers on its apps as a part of its ongoing, declared pivot in direction of privateness.
(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; modifying by Richard Pullin)