WhatsApp is developing a Newsletter for Communities. The functionality is currently being tested privately on a beta version of WhatsApp on Android. The company typically conducts such tests on Android before expanding them to iOS.
WhatsApp Android beta gains Newsletter for Communities
WAbetainfo discovered references to Newsletter for Communities in WhtasApp beta 184.108.40.206 for Android:
WhatsApp is now working on a new feature called Newsletter. To be honest, we cannot say for sure that it is really called “Newsletter” as it seems a codename at the moment, but we can temporarily call it that way.
According to the publication, WhatsApp newsletters are likely meant to be a supplement to the Communities function. Communities can link up to 10 different groups together.
Newsletters will be a one-to-many tool for broadcasting information and they look like a new way to easily receive useful updates from people and groups like local officials, sports teams, or other organizations. Thanks to Newsletters, users will finally be able to choose who they want to hear from and follow broadcasters of their choice right within WhatsApp.
For example, many interest groups have two WhatsApp groups, one for on-topic conversations, and another for off-topic chat, so people can choose whether or not to participate in both. A WhatsApp Community offers the ability to have linked groups and includes a broadcast facility to forward messages to all relevant groups.
According to WAbetainfo, Newsletter for Communities is kept separate from regular conversations and groups by appearing as an optional portion of the app. Not everyone will want to use it, and newsletters won’t provide the end-to-end encryption that is used for individual and group chats, so this is probably the case. According to the website, this is the case because there is no advantage to what is essentially a public broadcast feature
Some privacy safeguards are included, though. Nobody will be able to see specifically which newsletters you subscribe to. Your name and phone number are by default hidden, just like in group chats, even from the newsletter owner.
In related news, WhatsApp recently added picture-in-picture support for video calls to iPhone. Picture-in-picture is displayed in a small window on top of other apps when the user minimizes WhatsApp.