Twitter is taking on Facebook with a new tool called Communities.
Sarah Tew / CNET
With the community function of Twitter, users of a group of people can tweet on a topic.
Twitter is testing a new tool, Communities, which allows users in a group to tweet publicly on specific topics.
The experiment builds on Twitter’s efforts to make it easier for its users to find tweets on topics that interest them. Twitter already allows users to follow certain topics. The company hopes the Communities feature will spark more “intimate” conversations on its website, but the tool could also make content moderation more difficult.
Facebook has a feature called Groups that people can chat with on 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 on certain topics on social media can also become echo chambers in which users reinforce certain opinions or convictions. Twitter said conversations in communities will remain public, as opposed to sharing in Facebook groups. Users can also report a chat if it violates Twitter’s rules.
Each community will also have Twitter approved moderators. These moderators set the rules for the community and can invite others to join the conversation. Twitter users must be invited by direct message to join a community.
Topics that Twitter users have discussed in communities include dogs, skin care, and astrology, according to the company. 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. According to Twitter, Android users will be able to read tweets in communities and do more soon.
On Wednesday, Twitter did not announce how many users will have access to communities, but noted that a “limited group” of people in the US can create these group chats. Anyone worldwide can receive an invitation to a community.
“This is just the beginning for communities – we test, learn, and iterate based on your feedback,” said David Regan, product manager at Twitter, in a blog post.