Today's Facebook Communities Summit saw the social media giant announce a number of new updates and tools to manage Facebook Groups. These include tools that help admins develop the group culture and several other additions such as subgroups and paid subscription-based subgroups, real time chat for moderators and support for community fundraisers.
A suite of tools that Facebook Group administrators will be able to use to customize their groups in many ways, from the look and feel to the greeting messages and other features, is one of the new features. Facebook believes these features will help you to differentiate between groups and set the tone for your group's culture.
Administrators will now be able change the colors and backgrounds of the group's posts and the fonts used in them. Members can also use the new tools to modify the emojis to respond to the content. You can also use feature sets to choose from pre-made collections of badges, posts formats, admin tools and other features that you can enable for your group. Administrators can add multiple feature sets that are specific to their group (e.g. Parenting) or the type of functionality it might offer (e.g. Questions and advice, real time connections, learning, etc.
A new greeting message will be added to allow admins to share the rules of the group with new members. Larger groups often ask members to agree on a set rules. Some members click yes, but don't actually read them. This could be addressed by the greeting message. It will appear automatically when a new member joins the group. It introduces members to the rules and other norms of the group, such as a suggestion for members to post a post.
Facebook teased today a new feature called community awards, which it intends to widely roll out soon. Administrators can reward members who participate in positive ways by anointing posts with praises such as Insightful. Uplifting. Fun. Informative. This feature has been tested in some groups.
Administrators will be able to pin announcements in their groups to a new section called Featured. They can also take advantage of the latest version of Admin Assist, which is a moderation tool. This tool will provide admins with personalized suggestions on criteria to include and help them be more informed when certain content is removed. Admin Assist will also be available for Facebook Lite, Facebook's app for emerging market markets.
A second set of tools has been announced that will help members connect better with each other and generate revenue in certain cases.
Community Chats is a chat interface on Messenger and Facebook that allows admins to communicate with each other in real time. This feature is useful for large communities with multiple people involved in community management. It can also be used to quickly respond to any content that might need their oversight or input.
If groups meet regularly online or in person, they can also create recurring events.
Facebook also announced that it will begin testing a subgroups feature. This will allow members to separate for specific topics, regions or occasions. These subgroups are easy to manage and allow people to have side conversations without cluttering up their main group feed.
A second interesting aspect of this test is that Facebook will allow groups to create subgroups for a fee that members can subscribe to in order to gain access to exclusive content and experiences. Facebook suggests that this feature could be used to facilitate coaching, networking, or deeper conversations.
Admins will be paid the subscription earnings, minus any app store fees or applicable taxes. However, Facebook claims it will not take a cut at this stage. This could change in the future. This is in contrast to yesterday's news that Facebook will allow creators to offer customized subscription links that bypass Apple's in-app purchase fee.
Facebook groups will also be able host community fundraisers to raise funds for group projects or to pay hosts for their management time.
Groups will also be able sell merchandise through their group's shop, which could be another way members can support the group. Administrators may sell items they have created specifically for their group, such as custom tees and bags.
Facebook claims it is introducing a new user experience. It is currently in testing but will be made available to all users. Although the company did not provide much information, it noted that this would allow Groups administrators to speak in an official capacity when communicating with their community (i.e. Post as their Page. This would allow Page admins to build communities and provide them with the same moderation tools Facebook Groups have.
These changes were made by the company in anticipation of how groups would be involved in Meta's future plans for the metaverse.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta (Facebook), stated that building community will be a major part of the metaverse when he introduced the new features.
This vision will be a key part of the community and groups on Facebook. There is nothing better than being together. He explained that even if we are unable to be together in person the metaverse can help us feel closer to that feeling of in-person connection. We are focusing on creating bridges between our apps on 2D screens and more immersive virtual experiences. Facebook and your groups will be key to this. Zuckerberg stated that he was glad to be there to kick-start this celebration of community.