Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp is increasing the number of users allowed on a group audio call to 32 members, up from the earlier limit of eight. In a statement, today, the company also said that it will be increasing the file size for documents shared on the group to 2GB, allowing users to share larger files via WhatsApp.
The new features are part of an upcoming WhatsApp update, which will be rolled out to users in a phased manner. The update will also bring a feature called Communities, which allowed users to put related groups under a single community, and send announcements to all groups at once.
Communities will have their own admins, who will be able to moderate messages on the group, and disseminate messages to everyone at the same time. For instance, a workplace can have a common community, with multiple groups focused on various themes. Common messages sent by community admins would reach every group, while not every smaller group discussion would be visible to every person within the community.
It's unclear how admins of a community will be chosen, but they will be able to remove both messages and groups from the community they control.
The company said that Communities will continue to include end-to-end encrypted messages, and participants of one group won't be able to access those in another by virtue of being in the same community. Phone numbers of users will not be shared via communities either.
Lastly, WhatsApp is also adding message reactions, which are already available on Messenger and Instagram, to group chats.
“We're going to start rolling this out slowly, but I expect this to be an important evolution for WhatsApp and online communication overall," said Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive officer of Meta Platforms. "We'll be building community messaging features for Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram as well. I'm excited to see how this progresses as we start testing WhatsApp Communities today and roll it out over the coming months," he added.