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WhatsApp Rolls Out Communities Feature and In-Chat Polls, Raises Group Limit to 1,024 Participants

WhatsApp on Thursday announced the global rollout of its Communities feature to all countries, including India. The feature previously reported to be in beta testing would allow users to have multiple groups together under one roof and let them organise group conversations on the platform. In addition to the Communities feature, WhatsApp is bringing several new features aimed at improving users’ messaging experience, including the ability to create polls within a group chat, one-tap video calling for up to 32 people and doubling the participant limit for groups.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the global rollout of Communities on WhatsApp on Thursday. The update will allow users to have separate groups under one “Community” to organise group conversations on the Meta-owned instant messaging service. This will enable users to receive updates sent to the entire Community and organise smaller discussion groups on what matters to them, according to Meta. Communities will include new tools for admins, including announcement messages that are sent to everyone and control over which groups can be included.

“Today we’re launching Communities on WhatsApp. It makes groups better by enabling sub-groups, multiple threads, announcement channels, and more. We’re also rolling out polls and 32-person video calling too. All secured by end-to-end encryption, so your messages stay private,” Zuckerberg said in a prepared statement.

Communities feature on WhatsApp will be available to everyone over the next few months and is expected to benefit workplaces, schools, local clubs, or non-profit organisations. On Android, the new Communities tab will be displayed at the top of their chats, while on iOS it will be seen at the bottom. Communities would challenge WhatsApp’s biggest rival Telegram and other private messaging platforms, like iMessage.

In addition to Communities, groups on WhatsApp are getting a group poll feature. The functionality lets users create polls within the group quickly with the ability to vote. Facebook Messenger and Telegram currently allow users to add group polls. WhatsApp’s poll feature will be protected by end-to-end encryption.

Meanwhile, WhatsApp has also announced that group video calls on the platform are getting support for up to 32 participants. WhatsApp currently lets you add up to 32 participants to group voice calls on both Android and iOS, and the same limit will now apply to group video calls.

WhatsApp is also increasing the group size limit from 512 members to 1,024. The new feature will benefit enterprises and businesses to send messages to multiple people at the same time. The cap had increased from 256 to 512 earlier this year. Meanwhile, Telegram allows users to add up to 2,00,000 people to the group. However, unlike WhatsApp, these group chats are not protected by end-to-end encryption.

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