Twitter launches Communities to take on Facebook Groups and subreddits

Dark mode on the Twitter app
Dark mode on the Twitter app (Image credit: Joe Maring / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Twitter Communities are alternate timelines focused on a specific topic, interest, hobby, or type of person.
  • They will be invite-only and run by moderators. Anyone can see Community tweets, but only members can participate.
  • Communities are being tested on iOS and the web; no Android access yet.
  • You can apply to found and moderate your own Twitter Community if you want.

Twitter has recently been on a privacy and safety tear, testing new features designed to make the app a bit less painful to use. Last week, it added a new Twitter Safety Mode to auto-block hostile users. Yesterday, we learned of new Twitter social safety tools like removing followers without actually blocking them. And today, we saw the newest way to insulate your feed to focus more on specific content you crave.

Twitter Communities are invite-only spaces focused on specific, Twitter-approved topics. The company gave examples like Skincare, Space Enthusiasts, Crypto, Astrology, and Black Women Photographers. Most seem to revolve around popular hobbies, though the latter also focuses on users' identities.

Twitter plans to create or approve new Communities every week. If you want to create your own Community, you can go to this Twitter Communities interest form, provide your Twitter handle, and answer "What would your Community be focused on? What kind of people would be most likely to join?" If your request is approved, you'd be a moderator of that Community, and you'd be expected to moderate it and bring on other admins to help you.

Again, self-moderated, topic-specific spaces for like-minded individuals sounds a whole lot like subreddits and Facebook Groups for people that don't like those sites. Twitter already has Topics you can follow, but these show up in your already-crowded Home timeline. This feature will cut through the mess and let you read one tweet after another about plants, then move on to another topic once you're bored.

Twitter Communities will be public so that anyone can look at those tweets. But Twitter says that "only members can participate within the Community." Moderators and admins can send unlimited invites to join a community, while standard members can send out five invites — though Twitter says that rule could change. The worst-case scenario would be one bad actor inviting in a cascading group of trolls and bots into a previously safe community; in that case, it would be up to the moderators to kick them out.

When Twitter shut down Fleets, head of product Ilya Brown said, one of the company's biggest priorities is to "explore more ways to address what holds people back from participating on Twitter." Twitter Communities could make people feel more comfortable tweeting because anyone "invited" to a space will have inherent "permission" to tweet there. And you can send tweets to that specific community without worrying about alienating your overall followers who might not care about astrology or skincare.

Are you interested in joining a Twitter Community (once the feature comes to Android), and what kinds of topics would appeal to you? Or do other Android apps like Reddit already scratch that itch for you? Let us know in the comments!

Michael L Hicks
Senior Editor, Wearables & AR/VR

Michael is Android Central's resident expert on wearables and fitness. Before joining Android Central, he freelanced for years at Techradar, Wareable, Windows Central, and Digital Trends. Channeling his love of running, he established himself as an expert on fitness watches, testing and reviewing models from Garmin, Fitbit, Samsung, Apple, COROS, Polar, Amazfit, Suunto, and more.