Facebook Groups appears to be getting a makeover that may have taken inspiration from apps popular with a younger crowd, such as Discord.
On Tuesday, Meta announced that it is testing and adding new features to Facebook Groups that enhance a lot of its current capabilities. Among these new experimental UI changes to Groups are a new sidebar and a new in-group menu.
The sidebar will offer access to your favorite groups and include small updates on their recent activity. The sidebar also features options for pinning your favorite groups, creating groups, and finding new groups.
The other UI change is the presence of a new in-group menu. According to Meta, this menu will have “events, shops, and a variety of channels to make it easier to connect with others around the topics you care about.”
Meta is also introducing a new Facebook Groups feature: Channels. These channels are expected to provide smaller spaces for people to connect within their Groups. And there will be three kinds of them: Community chat channels, Community audio channels, and Community feed channels.
Chat channels are for text chat discussions. Audio channels are for audio conversations (but one of the screenshots indicates that cameras can be on during these conversations). And Feed channels appear to create smaller feeds within a Group, in which each feed is centered around a specific topic.
If these changes look familiar to you. You’re not the only one. As The Verge noted, these changes most resemble another popular social media platform, Discord. It’s hardly a coincidence that the product photos Meta offered up included a gaming-themed Group.
Not to mention, Meta has been doing the same thing with TikTok: Adding new features to its own platform that resemble the successful features of other apps.