What you need to know
- Facebook is testing a new way to display your groups in the left sidebar.
- The change will allow you to pin important groups to make them stand out.
- Admins can also now create smaller group discussions with community members via Channels.
Facebook is experimenting with a new way for users to access their favorite groups without breaking a sweat. The social networking giant has announced that it is testing a new sidebar that displays a list of all of your groups.
Currently, there's no straightforward way to open Facebook groups that matter to you. To get to them, you need to tap the hamburger menu and then select Groups from the list of options at the bottom.
Once you've reached that section, you'll need to tap the corresponding tab at the top navigation bar to open groups you've joined. The experimental sidebar is designed to shorten that process.
Facebook's latest experiment lists your groups in the left sidebar, making it easier to navigate to them. At the bottom of the sidebar, there are options to create a new group, pin the ones that matter to you, or discover new groups.
"We’re improving how each group is organized, so you can jump right into what’s happening," Maria Smith, Facebook's vice president of communities, wrote in a blog post. "Within your group, you’ll see a new menu that includes things like events, shops and a variety of channels to make it easier to connect with others around the topics you care about."
Facebook is also rolling out Channels, a new way for group members to connect with each other in smaller, more focused settings.
Facebook says group admins can start to create channels as of today on the best Android phones and iOS devices. You can set up three types of channels: chat, audio, and feed.
In the chat channel, you'll be able to message and collaborate on certain topics in real time across both Facebook Groups and Messenger. If you are inactive in a chat, you will most likely be kicked out when it fills up. Having said that, you will be able to rejoin.
Meanwhile, the audio feed resembles Discord's core features in many ways. Both admins and members can join and leave conversations in real time. While it's primarily an audio room, Facebook says you can turn your camera on at any time.
Feed channels are designed to allow admins to "organize their communities around topics within the group for members to connect around more specific interests," according to Facebook. Within this channel, Facebook will display suggested feed channels for you to join.
Meta, Facebook's parent company, has a growing aspiration to make it easier for online communities to connect. Last April, it introduced the Communities tab for WhatsApp to bring different groups together under one umbrella.
The new Facebook features arrive just a few months after the service launched new capabilities focused on group community building, customization, and ways for admins to monetize groups.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.