Mark Zuckerberg has introduced community chats for Messenger and Facebook in a bid to help people build social connections in real time over shared interests, with this beginning to roll out across Africa.
“Most people use feeds to discover content and use messaging for deeper connections. We’re building Community Chats as a new way to connect with people who share your interests. More than 1 billion people use Messenger to communicate with friends, and soon you’ll be able to start Community Chats from Messenger as well as Facebook Groups,” said Zuckerberg.
Community chats help people connect with their communities in real time around the topics they care about on both Facebook and Messenger via text, audio and video.
Using community chats, admins can now start a conversation about a topic and get in-the-moment responses instead of waiting for people to comment on a post.
Rather than navigating multiple topics in a single Messenger group chat, people can use Community Chats to organize chats into categories so group members can easily find what’s most interesting to them. For example a band’s fan group could have a “Breaking News” category with chats dedicated to new album drops, tour dates and group activities.
Community Chats will allow people to connect with their communities on Messenger in addition to friends and family.
People can choose from several options to help their communities connect, including chats for group members around a specific topic, event chats for an outing or meetup, view-only broadcast chats for admins to announce group-wide updates, admin-only chats to collaborate with admins and moderators.
Audio channels for up to 30 group members will share live commentary or receive real-time support. (For example, the admin of a Facebook Group for chemistry students could create audio channels for study groups during finals season, and participants can turn on video for live tutoring. Community Chats are only accessible to members of a group.)
“Given the more public nature of Community Chats, we’ve developed a robust suite of tools to help admins easily manage both chat and audio experiences including moderation capabilities like blocking, muting or suspending group members, and removing members or messages, and admin Assist, which allows admins to set custom criteria that will automatically suspend users, remove reported messages, and stop messages from ineligible authors or containing vįolating content from being sent,” Facebook said in a statement.
Members of Community Chats can also report messages to group admins or Meta, block users or leave a chat at any time.