Facebook is reportedly testing a new feature that helps its users connect with their neighbors.
Named “Neighborhoods”, it is currently being piloted in Calgary, Canada, where users are invited to share posts, groups, and marketplace items with others in their locality.
A Facebook spokesperson has been quoted as saying: “More than ever, people are using Facebook to participate in their local communities. To help make it easier to do this, we are rolling out a limited test of Neighborhoods, a dedicated space within Facebook for people to connect with their neighbors.”
Facebook “Neighborhood” was first spotted by social media consultant Matt Navarra.
Facebook’s “Neighborhood” feature has the potential to allow the social network to display hyper-local ads and gather more data on users.
How to use “Neighborhood”
You can select your local neighbourhood + permit FB to use your location to display posts, groups, marketplace items + more from your others in your neighbourhoodYou can create a ‘Neighbourhood’ profile for other users, who are not Facebook ‘friends’, to learn more about you pic.twitter.com/P0Ys3w9d4LOctober 20, 2020
Users can set-up a specific Neighborhoods profile, separate from their main Facebook presence.
To get started, a user has to select his/her local neighborhood and create a profile for other residents to learn about his/her interests, favorite spots, etc. Profiles will be visible to other users in the neighborhood and those that have been selected. The rest will be able to see only the name, profile and cover photos.
According to Navarra, “You can switch neighborhoods or leave your current neighborhood at any time. “
Facebook “Neighborhood” comes with dedicated privacy options and the possibility of more hyperlocal ads.
Facebook is focusing on closers interactions within the app in recent years, including private groups and messaging, as a way to increase usage of its services, including the recent introduction of Facebook Campus for undergraduates, Messenger Rooms with video chat, and couples-only Tuned.
Similar to Nextdoor
The Neighborhood feature is said to be similar to Nextdoor, a neighborhood-based US social network founded in 2008 that has raised about $470 million in funding.
According to a Bloomberg report, “Nextdoor is considering different options for going public, including a direct listing, Bloomberg News reported last week. The San Francisco-based company says it serves more than 268,000 neighborhoods globally, including about a quarter of US neighborhoods, on the service. Each neighborhood works as its own mini-social network, and people use it to do everything from selling used goods to posting about crime or neighborhood events.”
It is not clear, as of now, when Facebook will rollout “Neighborhood’ to other parts of the world.