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WhatsApp is working on a 'community' feature, but what could it be?

Is WhatsApp borrowing a feature from one of its biggest rivals?

Published onOctober 11, 2021

WhatsApp by Facebook stock photo 6
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
  • WhatsApp is working on a new “community” feature.
  • Judging by strings uncovered in an APK teardown, the feature is still a work in progress.
  • It’s unclear if it’s a social network feature or baked-in community chat room service.

WhatsApp users have many upcoming features to be excited about, from multi-device support to a more private message reporting system. However, the company is seemingly working on a new “community” feature.

Spotted by XDA-Developers during an APK teardown of beta version, the feature is detailed in several new strings that suggest it could be a new social element within WhatsApp’s larger chat framework. However, there’s no concrete evidence of what the feature is or how it’ll function within WhatsApp. The string descriptions also throw up more questions than answers.

One string suggests that communities will use an invite link system that would allow others to join. Users can also share these invites in QR code form. Another supports this, reading, “Anyone with WhatsApp can follow this link to join this community. Only share it with people you trust.” This suggests that any WhatsApp users with this invite could become “participants” in a community.

Like groups, communities will have administrators, too. These users will have several settings at their disposal, too. Per the strings, they can “allow messages that have been forwarded many times, in the community” they can change a community’s description, or ensure that only admins can message in a community. Alternatively, admins can give participants control to change community descriptions and more.

WhatsApp community: What could it be?

With that said, it remains unclear how communities will differ from WhatsApp’s groups in terms of functionality. As XDA-Developers suggests, the two features do appear to exist alongside one another. Interestingly, Telegram demonstrates how two group-style chat offerings can coexist in the same app.

Telegram allows users to start groups for smaller, private gatherings, but it also has a channels feature to broadcast messages to a larger audience. Users from across the app can join channels via invites or links, while channel admins have similar powers to WhatsApp community admins.

While it would make sense for WhatsApp to counter one of its rival’s more unique features, there’s not enough info to confirm that WhatsApp communities will function like Telegram’s channels.

What do you think WhatsApp’s community feature could be? Let us know in the comments below.

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