In a bid to connect social media communities in Real Time on Messenger and Facebook, Meta CEO, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social media network is building Community Chats on Messenger and Facebook to help people build social connections in real time over shared interests, with this beginning to roll out across Africa.
In his statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday, he said: “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.”
A statement that reemphasises Meta’s direction stated: “We’ve helped more than a billion people connect with loved ones in a trusted space on Messenger, and we know that people want to engage in real time with larger communities over shared interests. Mark Zuckerberg announced we’ll begin testing the ability for people to start Community Chats in Messenger in the coming weeks, allowing people to create a Facebook Group, start chats and audio channels, and invite others to join their new group all within the app. We’ll also be expanding Community Chats to even more Facebook Groups.”
Why Community Chats?
Community Chats let people connect more deeply with communities in real time around the topics they care about in multiple formats, including text, audio and video. The experience seamlessly blends Messenger and Facebook Groups to allow people to connect when, where and how they want. 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. And, rather than navigating multiple topics in a single Messenger group chat, the person who creates the Community Chat can 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.
Explaining how it works, the social media network noted that Community Admins can choose from several options to help their communities connect. They can start a chat for group members around a specific topic, an event chat for an outing or meetup, a view-only broadcast chat for admins to announce group-wide updates and an admin-only chat to collaborate with admins and moderators. Admins can also create audio channels so group members can share live commentary or receive real-time support. Participants also have the option to enable video once they’re in the audio channel. “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. To learn more about how to use Community Chats, check out the Facebook Community Blog.”
It further explained that given the more public nature of Community Chats, it developed a robust suite of tools to help admins easily manage both chat and audio experiences. These include moderation capabilities like blocking, muting or suspending group members, and removing members or messages, as well as 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 violating content from being sent. Members of Community Chats can also report messages to group admins or Meta, block users or leave a chat at any time. Learn more about privacy and safety controls in Community Chats.
“We’re committed to building messaging experiences that help people connect with their communities, friends and families. As Community Chats rolls out to more people and groups around the world, we’ll continue exploring new features and capabilities to make it easier to connect with one another,” Zuckerberg assured.