'Communities': Twitter tests new feature for tweeting to groups

Users need to be invited by a moderator or another member to currently try out the new tool

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 4, 2016, the Twitter logo is seen on a sign at the company's  headquarters in San Francisco, California.  It's a tired cliche but on Twitter, it rings true: Canadians are more polite than Americans, saying words like "great" and "thank you" more often, a scientific study said on November 21, 2018. The report in the journal PLOS ONE, led by three researchers at McMaster University, analyzed 37 million tweets from 2015-16.
 / AFP / JOSH EDELSON

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.

In a blog post, Twitter said 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 participate in a group if invited.

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

The social media company has in recent months rolled out a number of new features including subscription-based "super follows" and live audio chat rooms, aiming to turn around years of business stagnation.

Twitter's social media rival Facebook has pushed 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 misinformation and organise extremist activity, causing the company to announce changes to 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 problematic.

"Some of the initial Communities we're testing surround popular conversations on Twitter," said David Regan, staff product manager at Twitter, in the blog post. He said these included "dogs, weather, sneakers, skincare, and astrology, with many more to come."

Users will act as Community moderators, setting 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 over the past year "to better understand how Communities may be used and abused."

Updated: September 9th 2021, 2:46 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS