Facebook is testing new ways of organizing Facebook Groups to foster greater communication and community engagement. Meta, Facebook's parent company, said Tuesday that it was rolling out Channels, a feature it described as "focused spaces for people to connect in smaller, more casual settings within their communities."
Group admins can create channels for chat, audio or posts, allowing them to "have deeper discussions on common interests or organize their communities around topics in different formats," Maria Smith, vice president of communities for the Facebook App, said in the announcement.
Community chat channels would allow for conversations across Facebook Groups and Messenger, and can be set as open or invite-only, while audio channels let admins and members "jump in and out of audio conversations in real-time," similar to Discord.
Unlike the one-off audio component that exists in Rooms, the audio channel in Groups would be a dedicated, ongoing space. Members can also turn on their cameras if they choose.
Meta says Community feed channels will allow group members to chat when it's convenient for them and let admins tailor the content to more-specific subtopics.
The Groups menu will also highlight relevant events, shops and related channels.
Facebook Groups, which claims more than 1.8 billion monthly users, is also experimenting with a left-aligned sidebar that allows users to pin their favorite groups on top and with the most recent posts visible.
In March, Meta added tools to Groups allowing administrators to more easily combat misinformation, especially about Russia's invasion of Ukraine, any incoming post that's been rated false by one of the social media giant's third-party fact-checkers.