Stylus

Meta’s WhatsApp Bid for Small Social

Published 02 December 2022

Author
Brynn Valentine
1 min read

Meta-owned messaging platform WhatsApp has launched a new Communities feature, where people gather in invitation-only chatrooms to discuss everything from the latest TV hits to organising school carpools.

A big step up from WhatsApp’s previous group limit of 256 users, Communities can host over 1,024 participants. To keep things manageable, each can create admin-approved subsects where more focused conversations may unfold. For example, members of a company-wide Community can join a smaller group for a project they’re involved in, while a TV fan collective could have one to discuss the latest spoilers. Video calls for up to 32 people are also available.

Unlike other similar platforms like Facebook Groups or Twitter Circles, where users can hold more than one account, WhatsApp ties members to their phone numbers. This makes maintaining multiple identities much more laborious, and it favours connections among those who already know each other, often in real life. WhatsApp Communities counts entirely upon pre-established connections – the groups are not searchable through public discovery. Instead, people need to be invited via a direct link shared by existing participants.

With two billion global users, WhatsApp’s current market position could make it a serious competitor to popular community chat apps like Telegram and Discord (Statista, 2022). By entering the business of more privately interactive social platforms, Meta will be hoping to balance out consumer backlash against its pivot into artificial-intelligence-filtered content discovery on its other services, like Instagram, where the company is introducing more suggested content from creators people don't follow, to the vocal displeasure of its user base.

 

A big step up from WhatsApp’s previous group limit of 256 users, Communities can host over 1,024 participants. To keep things manageable, each can create admin-approved subsects where more focused conversations may unfold. For example, members of a company-wide Community can join a smaller group for a project they’re involved in, while a TV fan collective could have one to discuss the latest spoilers. Video calls for up to 32 people are also available.

Unlike other similar platforms like Facebook Groups or Twitter Circles, where users can hold more than one account, WhatsApp ties members to their phone numbers. This makes maintaining multiple identities much more laborious, and it favours connections among those who already know each other, often in real life. WhatsApp Communities counts entirely upon pre-established connections – the groups are not searchable through public discovery. Instead, people need to be invited via a direct link shared by existing participants.

With two billion global users, WhatsApp’s current market position could make it a serious competitor to popular community chat apps like Telegram and Discord (Statista, 2022). By entering the business of more privately interactive social platforms, Meta will be hoping to balance out consumer backlash against its pivot into artificial-intelligence-filtered content discovery on its other services, like Instagram, where the company is introducing more suggested content from creators people don't follow, to the vocal displeasure of its user base.

 

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This article is an example of Stylus' expert research into how Pop Culture & Media trends are evolving.Get in touch so someone from the Stylus team can explain how your business can harness the power of trends and insights like these – and more