Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced this morning that “community chats” are coming to Messenger and Facebook groups. The feature allows large Messenger groups to organize chats into categories, including audio and video channels for real-time discussions, admin-only chats for announcements, and event chats. Like Discord, community chats are designed to make it easier to keep track of fast-moving conversations involving many people.
“We’re building community chats as a new way to connect with people who share your interests,” Zuckerberg wrote. “More than 1 billion people use Messenger to communicate with friends, and soon you’ll be able to start community chats from both Messenger and Facebook groups.”
Much like a Facebook group, these chats are meant to go beyond your real-life group of friends – if you’re a woman who loves to ride waves, you can join Women Who Surf, as shown in a model image. Since you’re likely to be interacting with strangers, the product is introduced with moderation tools that allow admins to remove messages and block, mute, or suspend group members. An “Admin Assist” feature allows admins to set custom criteria to automate moderation. For example, if you’re running a G-rated chat and don’t want people to drop the F-bomb, you can automatically ban users who send messages with that word.
Community chats can be started from both Messenger and Facebook groups. The feature is now being tested and will be rolled out to groups in the coming weeks.
Meta has already started adding some features to Messenger that are reminiscent of Slack or Discord. In March, Messenger got the “@everyone” feature, which sends a notification to everyone in a chat. Conversely, the /silent command sends a message without even notifying the recipient.