WhatsApp Is Rolling Out Large-Group 'Communities,' 32-Person Video Chats

The new features are designed to improve chats among larger groups and organizations.

Alix Langone Former Reporter
Alix is a former CNET Money staff writer. She also previously reported on retirement and investing for Money.com and was a staff writer at Time magazine. Her work has also appeared in various publications, such as Fortune, InStyle and Travel + Leisure, and she worked in social media and digital production at NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and NY1. She graduated from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and Villanova University. When not checking Twitter, Alix likes to hike, play tennis and watch her neighbors' dogs. Now based in Los Angeles, Alix doesn't miss the New York City subway one bit.
Alix Langone
A graphic of smartphone screens showing the new "communities" feature on WhatsApp

WhatsApp 's new "Communities" feature, which will support communication across larger organizations, is beginning its rollout alongside the addition of 32-person video calls, the company announced Thursday. 

The Communities feature, which is WhatsApp's take on Telegram's Groups and Channels sections, were first announced in April alongside the addition of emoji message reactions.

Using Communities, the Meta-owned chat app will now allow users to "bring together separate groups under one umbrella with a structure that works for them," Meta said. This could include ways to coordinate among school groups or neighborhoods.

"It [communities] makes groups better by enabling sub-groups, multiple threads, announcement channels and more," Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. "All secured by end-to-end encryption so your messages stay private."

Within WhatsApp communities, you'll be able to do a number of new things such as receive updates sent to the entire community and organize smaller discussion groups. There will also be new tools for administrators such as announcement messages that can be sent to the whole group and control over which groups can be part of the community. 

In addition to communities, WhatsApp is also rolling out other new features that can be used in both groups and communities, such as in-chat polls for group decision making, the aforementioned 32-person video calls and groups that allow up to 1,024 members.

Communities is rolling out globally and will become available to everyone over the next few months, Meta said.