A series of changes to WhatsApp group chat will be coming soon that will change how users interact with one another.
Starting today for both iOS and Android users, WhatsApp group chat changes will be rolled out that allow users to include a description to detail the purpose, guidelines, or topics for the group. The description will be shared with each new member of the WhatsApp group chat – allowing those having a discussion to stay on topic.
WhatsApp group chats can include up to 256 participants, making the app viable for chat rooms rather than just a way to discuss among a couple of friends. It will be interesting to see how this new change affects the flow of discussion in larger groups. While it’s a minor change, it may add some much-needed organization to the messaging app.
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In addition to this change for WhatsApp group chat, the service is also launching a new feature called Catch Up – allowing users to see a quick recap of messages that have mentioned or replied to you since you’ve been away.
This will be included with a brand new @ button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, making Catch Up easily accessible and very useful to get a glimpse of activity while you’re away from the discussion.
Another feature being added to WhatsApp group chat is a change that makes it impossible to remove a Group creator from groups that they started – according to the company in a recent blog post. In an expansion of the organization and administrative tools for the app, leaders will be able to restrict which members can change a group’s icon and description as well as determine which users have administrative permissions.
While these changes to WhatsApp group chat have generally been well-received, there have been some actions from the company in the past few months that have drawn the ire of a significant population in India.
Ahead of elections in India this week, tens of thousands of WhatsApp groups have been made in an effort to reach voters, but many groups have been spreading misinformation and division between groups – especially Hindus and Muslims. After detecting that there were a huge amount of attempts to automate creation of WhatsApp groups in India, WhatsApp took action and shut all related groups down.
Banning automatically created WhatsApp group chat rooms is definitely warranted, but the fact that a bunch of innocent groups were caught in the crossfire is definitely upsetting a significant portion of the user base. Considering that Indian users account for roughly 250 million of WhatsApp’s 1.5 billion monthly active users, it’s a dangerous group to annoy.
These changes to WhatsApp group chat come as part of a series of adjustments and fixes that aim to make the company even more secure as a business – including changes in management, features, and monetization strategy.
Having grown from a simple text-only chat app into a fully-featured service that offers voice chat and support for many forms of multimedia, these changes to WhatsApp group chat among others were well warranted.
Hopefully the issues with WhatsApp group chat and the unpopular shutdown of legitimate chat rooms is addressed moving forward, but overall the implementation of the features seems to be a positive change that will continue ushering the app forward into a more modern experience that can continue to outclass the competition.