To clarify what we’re talking about, let’s look at Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement from today that Meta is beginning to test Community Chats for Facebook Groups inside Messenger.
The best way to think of Community Chats is as Meta’s version of Discord. You may join and participate in them using Facebook Messenger, and they will be available for Facebook Groups.
To quote the horse’s mouth, “with Community Chats, people can connect with their communities in real time around the topics they care about on both Facebook and Messenger via text, audio, and video. The experience seamlessly blends Messenger and Facebook Groups”, giving a more immediate vibe – “admins can now start a conversation about a topic and get in-the-moment responses instead of waiting for people to comment on a post”.
The person who creates the Community Chat can organize it into categories, so group members are easily able to find what’s most interesting to them. As an admin, you can start a chat for group members around a specific topic, an event chat for an outing or a meetup, a view-only broadcast chat to announce group-wide updates, and an admin-only chat to collaborate with other admins and moderators. You can also make audio channels, and participants then have the option to enable video once they’re in the audio channel.
Community Chats are solely available to group members, as has always been strongly suggested. Facebook offers a number of moderation options to make sure the experience isn’t unpleasant. Real-time interaction is certainly intended to entice users to engage with Community Chats, and if Discord’s success is any indication, it just might succeed.