WhatsApp, an instant messaging service with over 1.2 billion monthly active users, is likely to come with a new update version 2.17.430 containing some bug fixes, general improvements and a novel feature. The said feature- ‘Restricted Groups’ would enable administrators to disable the chat feature for non-admins (general members) in groups.
If implemented, the feature would give more power and control to the admins of the group. The update also plans to prevent the group creator from being deleted from the group by other administrators. This would ensure autonomy on the part of the admin and almost full control of the group.
The said update from the Google Play Beta Program for Android and from the AppStore for the iOS platform also outlines that the administrators will be able to choose if other participants can modify the subject of the group, its icon and its description. A notification of change of group information will appear in the group, in case an administrator decides that participants cannot change the subject of the group, its icon and its description.
Furthermore, Administrators would be able to disable the chat features in the group (restricted group feature). When this is done, all the other participants (except admins) would not be able to send in any group text messages, images, videos, GIFs, documents, voice messages etc. This means that they will practically be able to do nothing in the group and would be able to just read the incoming messages. The administrators (if multiple), however would be able to interact with each other in the group, even when ‘disable chat’ setting is enabled.
If a non-admin participant needs to post something in a restricted group, s/he has to contact an administrator, tapping a ‘Message Admin’ button. The participant will then be able to type the message and it will be sent to the admin. A group can be restricted only once every 72 hours but thanks to the 2.17.430 beta, WhatsApp will be finally able to change this value from the server. WhatsApp had also recently rolled out ‘Delete for Everyone’ feature with the ability to revoke messages once they are sent.
Improving the user experience in Groups had been a priority for WhatsApp for a while. The new update seems to be addressing this concern. The feature is likely to be available for all platforms by the middle of next year.