WhatsApp users could soon enjoy a new feature referred to as Community.
The feature would bring together groups, which are capped at 256 users, under bigger umbrellas where administrators could send alerts to a community of thousands.
The groups will have moderating admins who create community rules and can delete offending members just like Facebook Groups.
WhatsApp Communities will help users organise all their group chats and find information quicker.
For example, in a community for school parents, admins can create subgroups for clubs or sports teams. In a blog post announcing the new feature, WhatsApp also said communities could be used for clubs or small workplaces.
“We have been focused on how we can help people have the next best thing to an in-person conversation when they want to talk to an individual or a group of friends or family,” WhatsApp said in a statement.
Further, admins can delete members, offending media and abusive chats. Users can report abuse or remove themselves from a community or group, but admins have the final say over which users and posts are not permitted.
The messaging service, which is end-to-end encrypted and has about 2 billion users, said the Communities feature would also be end-to-end encrypted and member phone numbers will only be visible to admins.
Users can also silently leave Communities and subgroups without announcing it to the masses.
They also plan to introduce a one-tap voice calling that can include up to 32 people in the call.
“It’s been clear for a while that the way we communicate online is changing. For a deeper level of interaction, messaging has become the center of our digital lives. It’s more intimate and private, and with encryption it’s more secure too,” Zuckerberg said on Facebook.
While Communities will only be available as a new feature on WhatsApp for now, Zuckerberg said that similar messaging features are being developed for Messenger, Facebook and Instagram as well.