WhatsApp is working on a new feature where it could soon allow users to hide their phone numbers in certain groups and within the upcoming Communities. The feature was spotted by WABetaInfo, which is known for its information on latest and upcoming WhatsApp features. According to the report, the WhatsApp beta update on Android version 22.214.171.124 has this hidden feature. Keep in mind that not all beta users will see this feature as it is under development.
WABetainfo has shared a preview of how the feature looks like in the beta update. According to the screenshot, one option in the Group settings includes an option to turn off phone number sharing. This is expected to be a part of the Communities feature of WhatsApp.
For those who are not aware, Communities is a new feature that WhatsApp is working on and it is expected to rollout later this year. This is supposed to be a ‘directory of groups’ where anyone will be able to run a “run a community of their own with diverse groups”. The idea is to help users organise their groups better.
According to WhatsApp, anyone will be able to create a community and invite other groups to join this larger community as such. Further, these communities will be able to broadcast message across the various groups which are under it. However, the group admin will need to accept their invite in order to get the group added to a particular community.
Only those in a particular group will be able to see the messages in that group, even if the group joins a Community on the app. Messages within a group will not be visible to other groups or the Community at large. No group will have access to phone numbers of users in other groups as well.
Further, only Community admins will be able to send messages to all Community members. WhatsApp will only support community announcements for several thousands of users in the initial phase. In an FAQ page, WhatsApp has also declared that users will also be able to easily report abuse and block accounts within Communities. They will also be able to leave Communities they no longer wish to be a part of. It will also add an option to ‘silently’ leave a group so that everyone is not notified about the same.