Twitter test communities feature to tweet to user groups with similar interests

Twitter on Wednesday launched a global test of a tool it calls Communities, a feature similar to Facebook Groups that gives users a way to tweet to people with similar interests. The feature is being tested on iOS and the web, with Android users set to get it soon.

On a blog post, Twitter said that certain users can create communities and more will be added in the coming months. The company did not disclose the number of users who can create Communities in the test, but any user can join a group if invited.

Communities are publicly visible, although at this stage people need to be invited to join by a moderator or other member.

The social media company has introduced a number of new features in recent months, including subscription-based “super-follows” and live audio chat rooms, aimed at circumventing years of business stagnation.

The biggest social media rival, Facebook, has promoted its Groups, which can be private or public, as a strategic priority since 2017. But Facebook Groups have also been used ​​to spread political and health disinformation and organize extremist activities, causing the company to announce changes in the types of groups it recommends to users.

Twitter said it would adapt its rules and enforcement actions to keep people safe in Communities, including developing ways to proactively identify groups that could be troublesome.

“Some of the early Communities we’re testing involve popular conversations on Twitter,” said David Regan, product manager for the Twitter team, in the blog post. He said this includes “dogs, weather, tennis, skin care and astrology, with many more to come.”

Users will act as community moderators, defining and enforcing standards for their groups. During the test, the company is approving the moderators and will work closely with them.

A Twitter spokesperson said the company had done research and consulted experts last year “to better understand how Communities can be used and abused.”

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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