WhatsApp could be working on a new Community feature [Update]

WhatsApp could be working on a new Community feature [Update]

WhatsApp is undoubtedly one of the biggest instant messaging platforms around. Despite being this big in size and popularity, the app is slow to add features. For instance, several popular IM apps offer seamless chat backup and sync across Android and iOS, but WhatsApp only very recently got around to letting iOS users migrate their chats to Android, and even that is limited to Samsung Galaxy devices and remains buggy and far from their own instructions. Nevertheless, we now have learned that WhatsApp could be working on a new Community feature for its app, and from the looks of it, it could be different from the current implementations of Groups.

An APK teardown can often predict features that may arrive in a future update of an application, but it is possible that any of the features we mention here may not make it in a future release. This is because these features are currently unimplemented in the live build and may be pulled at any time by the developers in a future build.

WhatsApp‘s latest beta, v2.21.21.6, comes with several new strings that point to an upcoming feature called “Community”.

<string name="accept_invite_link_already_in_parent_group">"You're already in this community"</string>
<string name="button_invite_to_parent_group">Invite to community</string>
<string name="cannot_send_to_parent_group_not_member">"ERROR: can't send to this community, not a participant"</string>
<string name="conversations_most_recent_parent_group_invite">WhatsApp community invite</string>
<string name="failed_accept_bad_invite_link_parent_group">"This invite link doesn't match any WhatsApp communities"</string>
<string name="failed_accept_invite_link_banned_parent_group">"You can't join this community because you were removed."</string>
<string name="failed_accept_invite_link_invalid_parent_group">"You can't join this community because this invite link is invalid."</string>
<string name="failed_accept_invite_link_no_parent_group">"You can't join this community because it has ended."</string>
<string name="failed_accept_invite_link_reset_parent_group">"You can't join this community because this invite link was reset."</string>
<string name="failed_accept_invite_parent_group_full">"You can't join this community because it is full."</string>
<string name="failed_announcement_parent_group_send_msg_not_admin">Only admins can message this community</string>
<string name="failed_create_invite_link_no_parent_group">"Can't view this community's invite link because this group has ended."</string>
<string name="failed_create_invite_link_not_admin_parent_group">"Can't view this community's invite link because you're not an admin."</string>
<string name="invite_link_description_parent_group">Anyone with WhatsApp can follow this link to join this community. Only share it with people you trust.</string>
<string name="join_parent_group">Join community</string>
<string name="join_parent_group_by_link">Join community</string>
<string name="join_parent_group_creator_message">Community created by %1$s</string>
<string name="joining_parent_group">Joining community…</string>
<string name="parent_group_created_by_creator">Group creator created community \"%1$s\"</string>
<string name="parent_group_created_by_name">%1$s created community \"%2$s\"</string>
<string name="parent_group_created_by_you">You created community \"%1$s\"</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_changed_by_name">%1$s changed the community description. Tap to view.</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_changed_by_name_in_chats">%1$s changed the community description</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_changed_by_participant">A participant changed the community description. Tap to view.</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_changed_by_participant_in_chats">A participant changed the community description</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_changed_by_you">You changed the community description. Tap to view.</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_changed_by_you_in_chats">You changed the community description</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_deleted_by_name">%1$s deleted the community description</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_deleted_by_participant">A participant deleted the community description</string>
<string name="parent_group_description_deleted_by_you">You deleted the community description</string>
<string name="parent_group_ended">This community has ended</string>
<string name="parent_group_invite">WhatsApp community invite</string>
<string name="parent_group_invite_default_caption">Invitation to join my WhatsApp community</string>
<string name="parent_group_invite_link_preview_description">Community chat invite</string>
<string name="parent_group_link_qr_prompt">This community QR code is private. If it is shared with someone, they can scan it with their WhatsApp camera to join this community.</string>
<string name="parent_group_no_forwarded_many_times_disabled_sys_msg">"%1$s changed this community's settings to allow messages that have been forwarded many times"</string>
<string name="parent_group_no_forwarded_many_times_disabled_sys_msg_you">"You changed this community's settings to allow messages that have been forwarded many times"</string>
<string name="parent_group_no_forwarded_many_times_enabled_sys_msg">"%1$s changed this community's settings to not allow messages that have been forwarded many times"</string>
<string name="parent_group_no_forwarded_many_times_enabled_sys_msg_you">"You changed this community's settings to not allow messages that have been forwarded many times"</string>
<string name="parent_group_participant_joined_by_link_names">"%s joined using this community's invite link"</string>
<string name="parent_group_participant_joined_by_link_you">"You joined using this community's invite link"</string>
<string name="parent_group_qr_share_subtitle">WhatsApp community</string>
<string name="parent_group_restrict_disabled_sys_msg">"%1$s changed this community's settings to allow all participants to edit this group's info"</string>
<string name="parent_group_restrict_disabled_sys_msg_you">"You changed this community's settings to allow all participants to edit this group's info"</string>
<string name="parent_group_restrict_enabled_sys_msg">"%1$s changed this community's settings to allow only admins to edit this group's info"</string>
<string name="parent_group_restrict_enabled_sys_msg_you">"You changed this community's settings to allow only admins to edit this community's info"</string>
<string name="reset_link_confirmation_parent_group">Are you sure you want to reset the invite link for \"%1$s\"? If you reset the link, no one will be able to use it to join this community.</string>
<string name="share_invite_link_message_parent_group">Follow this link to join my WhatsApp community: %s</string>
<string name="view_parent_group">View community</string>

All of these are new string additions to WhatsApp, indicating work on a new Community feature. And from the looks of it, the Community feature will have a fair share of overlap with the existing Groups feature too. In fact, most of these Community-related strings do have “parent_group” as part of their string id. At first, we believed that this was nothing but a rename of Groups to Community. But these Community strings are new additions and exist alongside all the existing strings related to Groups features, indicating that the two features could coexist. Further, one of these strings (reproduced below) goes on to mention Group and Community in the same description, adding some more weight to the theory that the two features would exist simultaneously.

<string name="parent_group_created_by_creator">Group creator created community \"%1$s\"</string>

Here’s speculation on our end on what this Community feature could be: Community could possibly be a social media function within WhatsApp as an IM app, similar to what a Facebook Group is right now. A WhatsApp Community could host several WhatsApp Groups within itself (or be the other way round), as well as be a dedicated Channel for admins to message. But unlike Channels with admin-only posting that do not foster any discussion, Community posts could possibly host threaded responses like how Telegram allows for threaded responses to its own Channel posts. Such an implementation could differentiate the new Community feature from the existing Group feature, and would explain the string ids as well. Maybe there could further be more admin and management roles, opening the possibility for the Community to grow beyond the limits of what Groups can be right now.

However, as mentioned, note that this is speculation on our end. There still is a possibility that WhatsApp could simply be renaming Groups to be called Community, and the string replacement has not happened with this beta release. There are a few other improbable possibilities too. With the speed of feature introduction on WhatsApp, it could also take years before this feature comes to a stable release. For now, these new strings are all the information we have.

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Update: More information on Community

According to WABetaInfo, Community is just a way to better organize Groups.


What are your thoughts on the Community feature? Do you think it is a simple rename to Groups, or will it be something more? Let us know in the comments below!

About author

Aamir Siddiqui
Aamir Siddiqui

I am a tech journalist with XDA since 2015, while being a qualified business-litigation lawyer with experience in the field. A low-end smartphone purchase in 2011 brought me to the forums, and it's been a journey filled with custom ROMs ever since. When not fully dipped in smartphone news, I love traveling to places just to capture pictures of the sun setting. You can reach out to me at [email protected] or on Twitter (@aamirsidd94).