- On Thursday, WhatsApp announced "Communities", a system to manage groups of groups under a single umbrella.
- Some related changes are coming to standard WhatsApp groups even before Communities becomes available, such as emoji reactions.
- There is also a new power for group admins: to delete messages from other people, and silent exits from groups.
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The administrators of WhatsApp groups are gaining the power to delete messages by other people, WhatsApp said on Thursday, in an announcement of its upcoming "Communities" feature.
"Communities on WhatsApp will enable people to bring together separate groups under one umbrella with a structure that works for them," WhatsApp said in an announcement. "That way people can receive updates sent to the entire Community and easily organize smaller discussion groups on what matters to them."
A typical example would be a school, with WhatsApp groups for individual classes within the bigger school group. Admins, say a school principal, will then be able to send announcements to all groups at once, up to "several thousands of users" at launch.
"At the centre of every Community on WhatsApp is a description and menu of groups that people can choose to join," WhatsApp said.
Pre-existing groups can be folded into Communities once the feature set goes live.
Even before Communities becomes available, new features will be added to standard WhatsApp groups "in the coming weeks", the company said.
Groups will get emoji reactions of the kind long available on messaging platforms such as Slack, so that users "can quickly share their opinion without flooding chats with new messages", WhatsApp said.
Groups will also get voice chats for up to 32 people at once.
Perhaps the most notable new feature will be "admin delete", the power for group administrators to delete a message in a group for everyone.
Admins will also have the ability to remove people from an entire Community set of groups, while users will have the ability to silently leave a group, without everyone else being notified of their exit.