WhatsApp has started rolling out a version of its app where up to eight people can participate in group calls, WABetaInfo, a website that tracks new features on the service’s test versions reported today. The new limit, up from four people, comes as other video calling services like Zoom see enormous rise in users from people staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This feature is currently available only on beta versions of WhatsApp on Android and iOS. We have reached out to WhatsApp to find out when it will be rolled out for more users.
For the moment, only users with the latest beta version can even participate in a call with more than four people (as opposed to just the person placing the call). We were not able to independently get this working, but the WABetaInfo report has screenshots showing the feature working.
Earlier this month, WhatsApp limited forwards to one contact at a time, as opposed to five contacts at a time before that. The company is also testing a feature to web search forwarded messages with a single tap, in an apparent effort to fight misinformation. In March, WhatsApp was testing disappearing messages, which would be visible only temporarily. WhatsApp told MediaNama in February that it has 400 million users, 20% of their 2 billion-strong base globally.