Happy New Year to everyone who uses WhatsApp! We’re mindful that just as we’ve celebrated the start to 2023 through private texts or calls, there are many people who continue to be denied the ability to reach their loved ones because of internet shutdowns.
To help, today we’re launching proxy support for WhatsApp users all over the world. What this means is we’re putting the power into people’s hands to maintain access to WhatsApp if their connection is blocked or disrupted.
Choosing a proxy enables you to connect to WhatsApp through servers set up by volunteers and organizations around the world dedicated to helping people communicate freely. If you have the ability to help others connect, you can learn how to set up a proxy here.
Connecting via proxy maintains the high level of privacy and security that WhatsApp provides. Your personal messages will still be protected by end-to-end encryption — ensuring they stay between you and the person you’re communicating with and are not visible to anyone in between, not the proxy servers, WhatsApp, or Meta.
Our wish for 2023 is that these internet shutdowns never occur. Disruptions like we’ve seen in Iran for months on end deny people’s human rights and cut people off from receiving urgent help. Though in case these shutdowns continue, we hope this solution helps people wherever there is a need for secure and reliable communication.
This option is now available in the settings menu for everyone running the latest version of our app. More information about how to use this feature is here.
While WhatsApp is best known for bringing private and secure messaging to users across the world, more and more people are using WhatsApp as a way to connect with voice and video calls. That’s why over the course of this year we’ve launched several improvements to calling on WhatsApp, for catching up with your loved ones, colleagues and communities securely.
We’ve introduced new features for better connecting as a group on calls:
32 person calls: Just like with voice calls, you can now do video calls on your mobile with up to 32 people, four times the number of people than before
Message or mute call participants: Long pressing on a participant will enlarge the video or audio feed and allow you to either mute or message them separately while keeping the calls going
Call links: Whether making a last minute call or planning ahead, you can easily invite people to a group call by sharing a call link
We’ve also made design changes for a more seamless calling experience:
Colorful waveforms: Now you can easily see who is speaking if their camera is off
In-call banner notifications: See when someone new joins a group call
Picture in Picture on iOS: Now in beta testing and rolling out in the new year, easily multitask while on a call thanks to a minimized in-call video screen
As always, all calls on WhatsApp are end-to-end encrypted by default to protect people’s privacy and safety.
We’ll keep making improvements next year as we continue supporting high quality, private calling on WhatsApp wherever you are in the world.
Today we’re excited to bring avatars to WhatsApp, a new and personalized way to express yourself.
Your avatar is a digital version of you that can be created from billions of combinations of diverse hair styles, facial features, and outfits. On WhatsApp you can now use your personalized avatar as your profile photo or choose from one of 36 custom stickers reflecting many different emotions and actions.
Sending an avatar is a fast and fun way to share feelings with friends and family. It can also be a great way to represent yourself without using your real photo so it feels more private.
For many people this will be the first time creating an avatar and we'll continue to deliver style enhancements including lighting, shading, hair style textures, and more that will make avatars even better over time.
We hope you enjoy creating and sharing your avatars, which will be rolling out to users everywhere from today.
Today we're sharing an update on what we’re building to help people find, message, and buy something from a business on WhatsApp. Our team is in Brazil today where we’re discussing our vision for bringing the entire shopping experience directly to a WhatsApp chat.
Find a business
People want a convenient way to quickly get assistance from the millions of small businesses and tens of thousands of brands already on WhatsApp. Today we’re launching the ability to find a business right on WhatsApp so people can now browse businesses by category – such as travel or banking – or search by the business name. This will save people from having to find phone numbers off websites or type a number into their contacts.
We’ve built business search in a way that preserves people’s privacy. What you search for is processed in a way that cannot be linked back to your account. To start, we’re bringing the ability to search for a business to Brazil, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, and the UK where people can find companies using our WhatsApp Business Platform. In Brazil, search will help people find small businesses as well.
As more businesses use WhatsApp, our first principle remains keeping people in control of their conversations. Getting this right is important for WhatsApp just as much as for the people and businesses that rely on us. Some of the recent businesses that have joined WhatsApp are helping people open a bank account, purchase their metro ticket and order groceries.
Ultimately we want people to be able to make a secure payment right from a chat with their credit or debit card. We recently launched this experience in India and we’re excited to now be testing this in Brazil with multiple payment partners. This seamless checkout experience will be a game-changer for people and businesses looking to buy and sell on WhatsApp without having to go to a website, open another app or pay in person.
These new experiences are part of making WhatsApp the best way for people to connect with their favorite businesses. We look forward to your feedback.
As we shared earlier this year, we’ve been hard at work building Communities, a major update to how people will be able to connect on WhatsApp in the groups that matter to them. Today, we’re excited to announce we’ve started to roll out Communities on WhatsApp globally and this will be available to everyone over the next few months.
Communities like neighborhoods, parents at a school, and workplaces can now connect multiple groups together under one umbrella to organize group conversations on WhatsApp. To get started, tap on the new communities tab at the top of your chats on Android and at the bottom on iOS. From there you can start a new Community from scratch or add existing groups.
Once you’re in a community, you can easily switch between available groups to get the information you need, when you need it, and admins can send important updates to everyone in the Community
With Communities, we’re aiming to raise the bar for how organizations communicate with a level of privacy and security not found anywhere else. The alternatives available today require trusting apps or software companies with a copy of their messages - and we think they deserve the higher level of security provided by end-to-end encryption.
Today we’re also releasing three more features we think users will be excited about: the ability to create in-chat polls, 32 person video calling, and groups with up to 1024 users. Just like emoji reactions, larger file sharing, and admin delete, these features can be used in any group but will be particularly helpful for Communities.
We’ve been working with over 50 organizations in 15 countries to build Communities to meet their needs. We’re excited that the feedback we’ve heard so far is these new tools are helping groups like these better organize and achieve their goals. There’s a lot more we plan to build and we’ll keep adding features over the coming months. For now, we’re excited to get this into more people’s hands and hear your feedback too.
At WhatsApp, Privacy is in our DNA, and we will never stop building new ways to protect your personal conversations. We believe messaging and calling should always be as private and secure as having face-to-face conversations. Kind of like if two people were talking and no one else was around.
WhatsApp protects the personal calls and messages of users with default end-to-end encryption, so no one but the intended recipient can hear or see them. But that is just one important part of protecting your privacy. Over the years, we’ve added new layers of privacy protections to give you multiple ways to secure your messages, including disappearing messages that self-destruct, end-to-end encrypted backups when you want to save your chat history, 2-step verification for added security, and the ability to block and report unwanted chats.
Today, we’re excited to bring several new privacy features that provide even more layers of protection and give you more control over your messages. This is all part of how we work to keep your conversations secure on WhatsApp.
Leave Groups Silently: We love our group chats but some are not forever. We’re making it possible to exit a group privately without making it a big deal to everyone. Now, instead of notifying the full group when you are leaving, only the admins will be notified. This feature will start to roll out to all users this month.
Choose Who Can See When You're Online: Seeing when friends or family are online helps us feel connected to one another, but we’ve all had times when we wanted to check our WhatsApp privately. For the moments you want to keep your online presence private, we’re introducing the ability to select who can and can’t see when you’re online. This will start rolling out to all users this month.
Screenshot Blocking For View Once Messages: View Once is already an incredibly popular way to share photos or media that don’t need to have a permanent digital record. Now we’re enabling screenshot blocking for View Once messages for an added layer of protection. We’re testing this feature now and are excited to roll it out to users soon.
To spread the word about these new layers of protection, we’re also kicking off a campaign to educate people about the new features and our continued commitment to protecting your private conversations on WhatsApp. We hope people enjoy getting to use these new features and benefit from several options that help you keep your messages secure. We look forward to your feedback on what to build next.
For people and businesses globally, WhatsApp is now where business gets done. Whether it’s a mom-and-pop shop or a Fortune 500 company, businesses of all sizes today rely on WhatsApp to help their customers.
In the same way that WhatsApp made it possible for loved ones to communicate freely across borders, we want to make the challenges we’ve all experienced when talking to businesses a thing of the past. That means no more waiting on hold, getting stuck on a broken website, or sending an email into a black box wondering if it will ever be read.
To date, we’ve helped millions of businesses do better with WhatsApp. The next step is making WhatsApp available for every business that wants a fast, convenient and reliable way to communicate with their customers.
Opening WhatsApp to All Businesses and Developers with a New Cloud-based API
Today we’re taking a significant step in making WhatsApp available for any business of any size across the world by offering free, secure cloud hosting services provided by Meta. With this new API, we’ve cut down start-up time from months to minutes so businesses and developers can quickly and easily access our service, build directly on top of WhatsApp to further customize their experience and increase the speed at which they can respond to their customers. These services will also eliminate costly server expenses for our partners and give them instant access to new features. Businesses can sign up directly or work with one of our business solution providers to get started.
New Features in the WhatsApp Business App for Fast-growing Businesses
Over the years we’ve seen how small businesses that use WhatsApp will grow and we want to support them with additional tools. We expect some will want to use the Cloud-based API though many will continue to use the WhatsApp Business app. We are also working on advanced features for these businesses to help them run their operations beyond just a few people and further amplify their brand online – like the ability to manage chats across up to 10 devices so they can better handle an influx of chats. We’ll also provide new customizable WhatsApp click-to-chat links to help businesses attract customers across their online presence. We plan to offer these as additional, optional features for a fee in the WhatsApp Business app as part of a new premium service. We’ll have more details to share in the future.
With these new ways to support businesses, our values for person-to-business conversations still have not changed. People are in control of the businesses they chat with and businesses cannot message people unless they have requested to be contacted.
We hope people enjoy the ability to chat with more of their favorite businesses on WhatsApp and can’t wait to hear how new businesses get built, grow and thrive.
Reactions on WhatsApp are getting even better with a full emoji keyboard including skin tone selector. We’re excited to introduce more ways for users to express themselves while chatting with their family and friends.
As we announced last month with our vision for Communities on WhatsApp, we’re now building for organizations, businesses, and other close-knit groups to communicate securely and get things done on WhatsApp. The feedback we’ve received so far has been very positive and we can’t wait to get many new features into people’s hands.
We’re excited to share that emoji reactions are now available on the latest version of the app. Reactions are fun, fast, and they reduce overload in groups too. We’ll continue improving them by adding an even broader range of expressions in the future.
In addition, you can now send files within WhatsApp up to 2GB in size at a time, protected by end-to-end encryption. This is an increase from the previous limit of 100MB and we think will be helpful for collaboration among small businesses and school groups. We recommend using WiFi for larger files and we’ll display a counter while uploading or downloading to let you know how long your transfer will take.
One of the top requests we’ve consistently received is the option to add more people to a chat, so now we’re slowly rolling out the ability to add up to 512 people to a group. Building private, safe, and secure communities takes work and we think this series of improvements will help people and groups stay close to one another.
We hope people enjoy these updates and look forward to sharing more throughout the year.
Today we are excited to share our vision for a new feature we are adding to WhatsApp called Communities. Since WhatsApp launched in 2009, we've been focused on how we can help people have the next best thing to an in-person conversation when they want to talk to an individual or a group of friends or family. We also frequently hear from people who are using WhatsApp to communicate and coordinate within a community.
Organizations like schools, local clubs, and non-profit organizations now rely on WhatsApp to communicate securely and get things done — especially since the pandemic forced us all to find creative ways to work together while apart. Given lots of feedback we’ve received, we think there’s more we can do to make it easier to help people manage these busy conversations among these kinds of groups.
Here’s where Communities comes in. Communities on WhatsApp will enable people to bring together separate groups under one umbrella with a structure that works for them. That way people can receive updates sent to the entire Community and easily organize smaller discussion groups on what matters to them. Communities will also contain powerful new tools for admins, including announcement messages that are sent to everyone and control over which groups can be included.
We think Communities will make it easier for a school principal to bring all the parents of the school together to share must-read updates and set up groups about specific classes, extracurricular activities, or volunteer needs.
We're also making a number of improvements to how groups work on WhatsApp — whether or not they are part of a Community. We think these will help people share in new ways and reduce overload in larger chats. These features are rolling out in the coming weeks so people can start trying them out even before Communities are ready.
Reactions - Emoji reactions are coming to WhatsApp so people can quickly share their opinion without flooding chats with new messages.
Admin Delete - Group admins will be able to remove errant or problematic messages from everyone’s chats.
File Sharing – We’re increasing file sharing to support files up to 2 gigabytes so people can easily collaborate on projects.
Larger Voice Calls – We’ll introduce one-tap voice calling for up to 32 people with all new design for those times when talking live is better than chatting.
Communities are inherently private, which is why we will continue to protect messages with end-to-end encryption. This security technology has truly never been more necessary to protect people’s privacy and safety. Close knit groups — schools, members of a religious congregation, even businesses — very much want and need to be able to have secure and private conversations without WhatsApp monitoring their every word. You can read more about how we’re approaching privacy, safety, and security for Communities here.
While other apps are building chats for hundreds of thousands of people, we’re choosing to focus on supporting the groups that are part of our daily lives. It’s early days for Communities on WhatsApp and building the new features to support them will be a major focus of ours for the year to come. We can’t wait to get Communities in people’s hands and are looking forward to people’s feedback.
When we first launched voice messaging in 2013, we knew that it could change the way people communicate. By keeping the design simple, we’ve made recording and sending a voice message as quick and easy as writing a text. Every day on WhatsApp, our users send 7 billion voice messages on average, all of which are protected by end-to-end encryption to keep them private and secure at all times.
Today, we’re excited to announce new features that make the voice message experience on WhatsApp even better. These include:
Out of Chat Playback: Listen to a voice message outside of the chat so you can multitask or read and respond to other messages.
Pause/Resume Recording: When recording a voice message, you can now pause the recording and resume when ready, in case you’re interrupted or need to gather your thoughts.
Waveform Visualization: Shows a visual representation of the sound on the voice message to help follow the recording.
Draft Preview: Listen to your voice messages before sending them.
Remember Playback: If you pause when listening to a voice message, you can pick up where you left off when you return to the chat.
Fast Playback on Forwarded Messages: Play voice messages at 1.5x or 2x speeds to listen to messages faster on both regular and forwarded messages.
Voice messages have made it quick and easy for people to have more expressive conversations. Showing emotion or excitement through voice is more natural than text, and in many situations, voice messages are the preferred form of communication on WhatsApp. It’s simple for anyone to use - for your family members who prefer to avoid typing, for your friends who love to tell stories, for your peers who need encouraging words, or for when you want to hear your partner's voice at the end of a long day.
We’re excited for users to try these new features as they roll out in the coming weeks.