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Meta rolls out WhatsApp Communities for schools, others

Facebook’s parent company Meta on Thursday announced a new feature on its mobile communication called ‘WhatsApp Communities’.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, made this known in a Facebook post, saying the new WhatsApp feature will afford deeper level of digital interaction amongst the over two billion users of the mobile platform founded in 2009.

Meta’s social platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp are all owned by Zuckerberg, who is a 37-year-old Silicon Valley guru.

He described the new features as an “important evolution for WhatsApp and online communication overall”.

Zuckerberg stated, “Today (Thursday) we’re starting to test a major evolution of WhatsApp that we’ve been working on: WhatsApp Communities.

“Our messaging services are built around one-to-one text messaging — and that will stay the core of what we do. But we’ve also been working on building out the next generation of private messaging. With a focus on privacy, safety and security, we’ve added video chats, voice messages, stories, commerce, payments and more to WhatsApp and Messenger.

“With today’s launch, we’re taking this further and enabling people to not only communicate with close friends and contacts, but also with all of the different communities in your life.

“This might be a school community with chats where important announcements for parents are shared and discussed, or a work community with chats to discuss different things with colleagues, or a neighborhood community to talk about what’s happening on your street or in your building.

“We built WhatsApp Communities to make it much easier to organize all your group chats and find information. You’ll be able to bring different group together into one community — for example, in addition to individual groups for different classes, you might have one overall community for parents at a school with a central place for announcements and tools for admins.

“We’re also adding new features to groups on WhatsApp, including reactions, large file sharing, and bigger group calls. And because this is WhatsApp, end-to-end encryption and safety features will be built in from the start.”

Zuckerberg had last year announced the parent company’s name change to “Meta” to represent a future beyond just its troubled social network and pivot to its ambitions for the “metaverse” virtual reality version of the internet that the tech giant sees as the future.

Nigeria has over 33 million active social media users. WhatsApp is the most popular platform used in the country, with over 90 million users according to Statista. About 61.4 per cent of Nigerian social media users use Twitter, 86.2 per cent use Facebook, 81.6 per cent use YouTube, 73.1 per cent use Instagram, and 67.2 per cent use Facebook Messenger.

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