Facebook are Beefing Up Groups to Increase Community Focus

Facebook Groups are certainly useful, but the feature has always been somewhat spartan. You can decide who joins, but then it's just the same as the normal news feed, only in a closed circuit. It could almost be argued that you could achieve the same effect by simply limiting the reach of your regular posts. There's certainly always been room for improvement, and it seems like Facebook were aware of that.

They've been quietly prepping a new version of Groups on the mobile app, and now it's ready for testing. Groups will now be visible alongside the News Feed and Notification sections, and the page itself has been updated with a 'Discover' section which points you to new groups that you might be interested in, based on category.

Alongside 'Discover' is 'Create', which does what it says on the tin. The actual Group creation process is largely the same, but the design of the interface has been given a major polish. Previously, you had to really dig into the settings on the app to find Groups, so even the act of placing them front and centre like this is a significant improvement. Facebook actually tried to branch Groups off into a separate app in 2014, but it fizzled out in a matter of months.

Like almost every recent change that's come to the platform, this comes on the heels of Mark Zuckerberg's gargantuan 6,000 word open letter. Specifically, Zuckerberg discussed "meaningful social infrastructure". The emphasis has certainly been angled more towards letting users decide what interests them, rather than leaving Facebook's algorithms to figure it out for themselves.

You don't generally add people on Facebook because you have similar interests, but the News Feed and the friends list are becoming increasingly separate entities, and there's no reason why it shouldn't be possible to retreat to havens of mutual interest outside of the usual Facebook experience. At present, Groups are more commonly used to organise parties or arrange the office retreat, but this way they might take on a more Reddit-esque format.

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