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Twitter 'Communities' feature lets people form groups to tweet about topics

Twitter says conversations in a Community will be public during the experiment.

Photo illustration of hand holding a smartphone with Twitter's logo on the screen

Twitter is taking on Facebook with a new tool called Communities.

Sarah Tew/CNET
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Twitter's Communities feature lets users tweet to a group of people about a topic.

Twitter

Twitter is testing a new tool, Communities, which lets users publicly tweet in a group about specific topics.

The experiment builds on Twitter's efforts to make it easier for its users to find tweets about topics they're interested in. Twitter already lets users follow specific topics. The company is hoping that the Communities feature sparks more "intimate" conversations on its site, but the tool could also make content moderation more challenging.

Facebook has a feature called Groups that lets people chat about specific topics, but the tool has also been used to spread misinformation, including about the COVID-19 vaccines. Facebook Groups can be public or private. Conversations about specific topics on social media can also turn into echo chambers where users reinforce certain opinions or beliefs. 

Twitter said conversations in Communities will remain public as part of the experiment, unlike exchanges in Facebook Groups. The company, though, hasn't said if it plans to make all Communities public in the future. Users can also report a chat if it goes against Twitter's rules. 

Each Community will also have moderators approved by Twitter. These moderators set the rules for the Community and can invite others to join the conversation. Twitter users will have to be invited through direct message to join a Community. 

Some of the topics Twitter users have discussed in Communities include dogs, skin care and astrology, the company said. To access the tool on an Apple device, Twitter users go to a tab at the bottom of the app, or in the sidebar on Twitter.com. Twitter said Android users will be able to read tweets in Communities and that they'll soon be able to do more.

On Wednesday, Twitter didn't say how many users will have access to Communities, but it noted that a "limited group" of people in the US will be able to create these group chats. Anyone globally can receive an invite to a Community.

"This is just the start for Communities -- we'll test, learn, and iterate based on your feedback," Twitter Product Manager David Regan said in a blog post.