Facebook has launched limited testing of a new option for Groups this week and it is called Neighborhoods. Apart from the rise in usage of Facebook Groups especially due to the pandemic, Groups has always been an effective tool for local communities to engage effectively. The new feature of Neighborhoods is aimed at maximizing social connection within users’ immediate vicinity.
The tool is already available to a number of users, including those in Calgary, Canada. A preview of the Neighborhood tool shows a ‘get started’ prompt to connect with neighbors and discover more about local happenings within the app.
Users would be taken to a step-by-step process to create their Neighborhoods profile. It starts with first confirming location to make sure that a user is in the relevant group. The profile will be separate from the user’s main Facebook profile and will provide the ability to connect with others in the local community.
This tool could also be of help in situations where users may need assistance from each other, especially in the time of the current pandemic.
The neighborhoods tool is still in its testing phase, so it hasn’t been officially rolled out to everyone.
One interesting thing to note here is that Facebook announced this feature during the time when an app with a similar functionality is receiving increasing attention during the pandemic. The app is called Nextdoor and it has approximately 27 million monthly active users.
It is likely that Facebook is attempting to replicate the functionality of Nextdoor within its app, as a way of competing with the popular local connection service.