With engagement in Meta’s apps seemingly in decline, based on various reports, it’s increasingly keen to capitalize on its wins where it can, which is why it’s rolling out a new way to encourage more engagement stemming from Facebook Groups, via a new Community Chat option that’ll facilitate topic-based discussion groups within Messenger.
As you can see in these examples, Community Chats, which is being launched today in testing with a limited number of users, will enable people to create a Facebook Group, start chats and audio channels, and invite others to join their new group, all from within Messenger.
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.”
So it’s Facebook Groups, but in Messenger instead, which could encourage more immediate interaction and discussion around your key topics of interest.
If that’s what people actually want. It seems, for the most part, that people would probably prefer to keep both of these elements separate – you drop into Facebook groups to catch up on the latest updates, while your messaging groups are for your closer friends and family. Some group members likely already branch off into Messenger and WhatsApp chats too – but I’m not sure that there’s a need for a direct linking functionality in this respect.
Meta, however, is sure that it can eek out more engagement by tapping into the rising trend of people sharing more within private discussions.
As explained by Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg:
“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.”
Meta is trying to use this as a lever to fundamentally change its approach, migrating users from a feed of content driven by their social graph – i.e. the updates that they’ve explicitly chosen to see in each app by following and Liking people and Pages – to one that’s more based on popular, trending content in related areas.