Sometime last year, XDA Developers did some digging and revealed that the platform was working on a ‘Communities’ feature as the popular WhatsApp tipster, WABetaInfo backed up the information. News reaching the public is that WhatsApp has started rolling out its new community group feature to users of its beta Android app.
According to WABetaInfo, the communities tab will appear instead of the camera tab to select users. It allows users to create a community by adding up to ten groups called sub-groups, supporting 512 participants. The platform is working to hide mobile numbers of participants in sub-groups of a community.
This feature will allow users to manage all related groups and create subgroups for different topics. Users can create 10 subgroups and each of them can contain up to 512 members. As soon as you create a Community on WhatsApp, a group is automatically created under it.
For example, a user can create a Community for a school with subgroups for each class or extracurricular activity. Administrators can then send announcements to the entire group to reach all users or only certain groups.
A community member can decide to join a subgroup based on their interests. He can also leave the subgroup whenever he wants without leaving the community itself. WhatsApp communities will also let you block certain people, report abuse, and more. Also, just like normal chats, they will be end-to-end encrypted.
At the moment, WhatsApp is working on hiding phone numbers in sub-groups of a community, so other members of the community cannot see your phone number. Unfortunately, this privacy feature is not included in this “first version” of WhatsApp Communities so we should expect it to be released in the future, but no further details are available right now such as the release date.
This feature is currently rolling out to selected beta users on Play Store. While some users may receive the 188.8.131.52 update instead of 184.108.40.206, bear in mind that the feature is available to both versions. However, if you’ve installed a compatible update, it does not mean that you can already create a community today.
WhatsApp is launching a very small test to certain beta testers so the ability to create a community is not available to everyone, and you cannot use communities if the feature is not available for your WhatsApp account, even if a community admin adds you to their community. Since it is only available to some lucky beta testers, it means that more activations are planned over the coming weeks and we will keep you up to date when there are more details to share with you.