Today Mark Zuckerberg announced that Meta is starting to test Community Chats for Facebook Groups inside Messenger, and those words definitely sound rather confusing, so let’s unpack what we’re talking about here.
It’s probably easiest to think of Community Chats as Meta’s own interpretation of Discord. These will be available for Facebook Groups, and you will be able to join and partake from Facebook Messenger.
To quote the horse’s mouth, “with Community Chats, people can connect with their communities in real time around the topics they care about on both Facebook and Messenger via text, audio, and video. The experience seamlessly blends Messenger and Facebook Groups”, giving a more immediate vibe – “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”.
The person who creates the Community Chat can organize it into categories, so group members are easily able to find what’s most interesting to them. As an admin, you can start a chat for group members around a specific topic, an event chat for an outing or a meetup, a view-only broadcast chat to announce group-wide updates, and an admin-only chat to collaborate with other admins and moderators. You can also make audio channels, and participants then have the option to enable video once they’re in the audio channel.
As heavily implied so far, Community Chats are only accessible to members of a group. Facebook is providing a variety of moderation tools to ensure that the experience isn’t bad. The company is obviously hoping that the real-time experience will hook people into using Community Chats, and if the success of Discord is anything to go by, it might just work.