Meta has soft-launched a new Community Chats feature for Messenger and Facebook Groups on September 14, 2022. The new feature lets users create new real-time chat, voice, and video channels directly from the Messenger app.

Community Chats are still in the testing phase at this time, with access limited to a small number of users.

According to Facebook: “Community Chats seamlessly blends Facebook Groups and Messenger, providing a way to stay connected with your group and build deeper relationships.”

Taking a page from popular social messaging apps like Slack and Discord, Community Chats allows Messenger group admins to create text, voice, and video channels, add categories for discussion targets, and engage in more organized real-time discussions.

To create a Community Chat from the Facebook app:

  1. From your Feed, tap the menu icon (3 horizontal lines stacked on top of each other), then tap Groups and select the Group you’d like to add a Community Chat to.
  2. Tap the menu icon in the top left of the Group.
  3. Tap Create chat. If Create chat isn’t visible, tap Create a channel, then select Chat.
  4. Enter a chat name, description, and category.
  5. Tap Create.

And to create a Community Chat in the Messenger app:

  1. Tap the menu icon (3 horizontal lines stacked on top of each other)
  2. From the left menu, tap on a Group to open it.
  3. Tap the + icon
  4. Enter a chat name, description, and category.


Creating new Community Chats in the App

Source: Facebook

Note that at this time feature is only available on mobile.

For anyone who is an admin of Facebook or Messenger Group, Community Chats provide many new avenues for engagement and growth to explore. This is a good thing, at least in theory

The big question now is whether users will actually want to engage with the new features.

If Community Chats can bring the discussions people are having on rival platforms (Discord, Slack, etc.) over to Meta, this could be a big win for the company. Especially at a time when it continues to lose its once dominating market share to new disruptive rivals.

Trying to turn Instagram into TikTok hasn’t been working out particularly well for Meta. It will be interesting to see whether users will be happy with Groups and Messenger trying to transform into Discord.

Community Chats could be the engagement win that Meta desperately needs right now, but only time will tell whether or not users would rather keep chat communities on dedicated platforms.