Meta quietly rolls out Communities on Messenger

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Meta is quietly rolling out a new “Communities” feature on Messenger, the company confirmed to TechCrunch. The feature is designed to help organizations, schools and other private groups communicate in a more organized and structured way. Meta introduced Communities on WhatsApp back in 2022.

The feature lets people connect with others without needing an associated Facebook Group to do so. Meta rolled out Community Chats on Messenger back in 2022 as a way for people in Facebook Groups to connect in real-time, but with this new feature, the company is allowing people to create dedicated spaces for real-time communication on Messenger without being connected to a Facebook Group.

The launch indicates that Meta is looking to expand Messenger’s functionality and differentiate it from other messaging services, like iMessage. It also suggests that it wants to add a broader social networking aspect to the messaging app outside of Facebook by helping people find and connect with their community directly within Messenger.

Communities consolidate multiple group chats into one place, and each Community features a dedicated “Home” space where admins can share updates and announcements. Up to 5,000 people can join a community through shareable invites, Meta says. 

The feature can be used to create a dedicated space for things like organizations, schools, PTAs and neighborhoods. It could also be used to create a dedicated space for connecting with friends with similar interests.

For instance, a neighborhood could create a Community to keep everyone connected and updated on different topics. They could create dedicated group chats for topics like upcoming events, security alerts, trash pickup schedules, and more. Or a school could create a Community and have dedicated group chats for all grades, allowing parents to join the conversations that concern their children.

Although the feature works similarly to Communities on WhatsApp, Meta says there is one key differentiator, which is the fact that Messenger Communities are connected to Facebook’s social graph. While WhatsApp requires you to have someone’s phone number to invite them to a Community, Community builders on WhatsApp can grow their communities by inviting Facebook friends and friends of friends.

On a help page, Meta says Communities on Messenger are designed for more public conversations when compared to Facebook groups. For instance, the company notes that all current and future members of a Community can see chat content.

The new feature is rolling out to all users globally.

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