After 15 years, Twitter is getting dedicated features for groups. The company is now starting to test Communities, “a more intimate space for conversations” on the platform.
Communities, which the company first teased back in February, are sort of like Twitter’s version of a subreddit or a public-facing group on Facebook. Communities are dedicated to specific topics, and members can post tweets to a dedicated group timeline. Each community has its own moderators who set rules for the group, and users must be invited by an existing member or moderator to participate.
The feature is meant to address what’s been a long-running issue for the platform: that it can be incredibly difficult for new users to wade through the noise and find the corner of Twitter that speaks to their interests. The company has tried to address this with Topics, which injects tweets into your timeline based on your interests, but Communities takes the idea a step further.
Twitter notes that some of its first Communities will focus on popular topics like skincare, astrology, sneakers and dogs, but that over time it expects the groups to reflect the more “niche discussions” that happen on the platform. For now, Twitter is starting with just a handful of Communities, though moderators and members are able to invite anyone to join. The company says it plans to open up the feature for more users to create Communities in the “coming months.”
Notably, Twitter seems to be trying to avoid some of the issues that have plagued Facebook’s Groups. All Communities are publicly accessible and viewable by anyone on the platform —there’s no such thing as a private or “secret” Community — though only members can participate in the discussion directly. Like Reddit and Facebook, Twitter will also rely on admins and moderators to steer the day-to-day conversations and keep members in check. The company is also working on new reporting and detection features to weed out “potentially problematic” groups that may spring up.
Though the company is calling the feature a test, Twitter seems to be quite serious about its potential. Communities is getting its own tab in the center of Twitter’s app, between explore and notifications, which suggests the company plans for Communities to be a prominent feature of its platform for the long term.