Your primary use of WhatsApp might be group chatting with friends around the globe. But the Facebook-owned app has also become an important vehicle in delivering news and information.
WhatsApp released an update on Friday that adds an option to have only admins to send messages in group chats. This could be useful for people and groups that use WhatsApp as a way to send mass updates, and to cut down on noise and clutter.
“One way people use groups is to receive important announcements and information, including parents and teachers at schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations,” WhatsApp wrote in a blog post. “We’ve introduced this new setting so admins can have better tools for these use cases.”
In addition to PTA announcements, this feature could increase WhatsApp’s already growing standing as a news delivery platform. In June, a Reuters Institute study found that people were turning to WhatsApp and other one-to-one or group messaging platforms for news, and away from Facebook. Particularly in some countries with authoritarian regimes, people who were concerned with “the safety of posting political messages” were increasingly using WhatsApp. The group chat admin feature could help make WhatsApp a system for group alerts.
WhatsApp released a few new group chat features in May that made the service more like Slack. Those included a “catch-up” feature that allows you to see activity where you’re mentioned without having to scroll through endless responses.
Your move, iMessage.