New Community Chats for Facebook and Messenger

Facebook is expanding access to a feature called Community Chats. It allows group organizers to create curated live Messenger chat groups.

It’ll allow you to browse chats organized by announcements, topics, events, and more to connect with group members beyond just feed posts and comments.

The chats can go beyond just texting, with support for audio channels including up to 30 group members, and people can turn on their cameras to present or broadcast what they’re doing. In “the coming weeks,” tests will begin for a feature allowing you to Community Chat within Messenger and generate a Facebook group, giving your casual group chat a more organized home base. Not all Groups currently have access to Chats, but parent company Meta says more will soon.

Previewed earlier this year as “Community chat channels” is a more considerable Discord-like rethinking of Facebook Groups and Messenger group chats. The new Community Chats also resemble a casual version of workplace community platforms like Slack, Teams, and Zoom’s upcoming Team Chat. Finding inspiration in other apps is nothing new for Meta, even though progress on challenging TikTok with similar features in Instagram Reels has been unsteady.

Community Chats allow people to bond more deeply with societies in real time around the issues they care about in multiple forms, including text, audio, and video. The experience seamlessly blends Messenger and Facebook Groups to authorize people to connect when, where, and how they want. For example, admins can now start a conversation about a subject and get in-the-moment responses instead of waiting for people to comment on a post.

Rather than navigating multiple issues in a single Messenger group chat, the person who creates the Community Chat can arrange conversations into categories so group members can easily find what’s most interesting. For instance, a band’s fan group could include a “Breaking News” class with chats dedicated to the latest album drops, tour dates, and group exercises.

We’ve created a rich suite of tools to help admins efficiently handle chat and audio experiences with the more public nature of Community Chats. It includes moderation stuff like blocking, removing members or messages, muting or suspending group members, and Admin Assist. It enables admins to establish custom criteria that will automatically remove reported notices, suspend users, and stop messages from ineligible authors or holding violating content from being mailed. Members of Community Chats can also block users, convey messages to group admins or Meta, or leave a chat at any time.

The most substantial benefit for those who hold large Facebook Groups is the power to get instant replies on timely matters in the community. Think Pokémon Go Facebook Groups for a major city. Still, admins could institute Messenger groups for additional boroughs so people can stay connected to the next gym raid closest to them — the organizing Discord has consistently excelled at.

Group admins will have many tools devised to maintain the community well, including auto-moderation features that can boot members who post group-violating content. Admins can also manually block, mute, and suspend members, as well as delete their messages.

In addition, users can expect their privacy settings to remain consistent within the new Community Chats. Finally, Facebook will use machine learning to automatically clear harmful messages at a “wider breadth” than private Messenger chats.