WhatsApp’s Community Announcements could get a lot noisier

Summary

  • Non-admins of WhatsApp Communities may soon be able to reply to messages in the Announcements group, as per evidence seen within WhatsApp beta for Android v2.24.4.12.
  • In its current form, the Announcements group only allows administrators to post messages, while non-admins can only forward or star the message, among other actions.
  • While this feature will certainly improve engagement, admins will need to manage potential spam or unwanted messages in the Announcements group. It is currently unclear if admins will have control over enabling or disabling this feature.


Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced WhatsApp Communities in 2022 as a way for people and organizations to manage all their group chats in one convenient location. Each Community gets an Announcements group, which is a space for administrators to provide relevant information to the members. However, it doesn’t allow regular members to reply to an announcement. But it looks like WhatsApp could soon change that by letting non-admins reply to messages in the Announcements group.


This change was spotted in WhatsApp beta for Android v2.24.4.12, courtesy of the ever-reliable WABetaInfo. However, there’s a caveat involved. The publication says Communities with over 1024 participants may not find this new feature on the beta channel.


WhatsApp Community Announcements Replies


When available, Community members should be able to reply to an announcement by long-pressing the message. In its current form, non-admins can’t respond to the announcement but can reply to the admin privately, while the options to star, forward, or report the user are also present. This new beta update also contains an indicator for announcements with replies, and tapping that section opens up the full list of replies from other members, along with a text field (Add a reply) to write a comment.

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While a feature like this will no doubt improve engagement from members, it could also be a hotbed for spam or unwanted messages, especially in large Communities. But this is where admins come into the equation, who have to ensure that only the relevant responses remain. In an ideal scenario, admins would want members to stick to questions that are related to the announcement. It’s unclear whether this feature would be enabled by default or if WhatsApp will provide a toggle to enable or disable it whenever required.


The Announcements group is meant to keep all members informed about any big changes, while the sub-groups are where people can dig into the smaller details and engage in broader discussions. But this updated way of communicating with each other is a decent addition and one we hope makes it to the stable channel. We’ll keep a closer eye on future WhatsApp beta releases to learn how this new announcement replies feature evolves.


In the meantime, the Meta-owned chat app has been fairly busy making other changes to Communities. Just a couple of weeks ago, the app’s beta for Android featured a new automatically pinned events section, which makes it easier for all group members to know the details of an upcoming event or date without manually searching for the individual message containing the event info.

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