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.