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WhatsApp's answer to Discord may be group chat 'communities'


WhatsApp group chats may soon behave more like Discord servers. WABetaInfo and The Verge have learned WhatsApp is developing a Communities feature (initially spotted at XDA) that lets administrators unite group chats under a larger umbrella. You'd have a top-level Community chat with smaller group chats tied to it — for instance, you could have a Community for a college course with study group chats linked to that parent.

All of the chats would behave much like they do today, with end-to-end encryption. Admins could invite people to join the community either manually or by sharing an invitation link. Those overseers would also have tools to manage a given community, although details aren't available at this stage.

WABetaInfo expected Communities to appear in a future WhatsApp beta for Android and iOS, although it didn't know when. We'd add that features like this aren't guaranteed to launch, and might get cut.

It's easy to see Communities launching before too long, though. This wouldn't replace Discord for gamers, but it might fulfill a similar role for classes, fan groups and others that want to tie multiple chats together. It could be particularly important in countries like Brazil and India, where WhatsApp is frequently a mainstay of people's digital lives.

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