Facebook’s next big play could be all about being familiar with your neighbors. The company confirmed today that it’s testing a new feature that motivates users to publish and share news in miniature socials media focused on small geographical areas. Users can develop special profiles that share minimal information with their next-door neighbors, while Facebook itself will use the comprehensive place data it collects from those enrolled to serve “more relevant” ads.
The function, named Neighborhoods, is presently being tested in simply a single market, Calgary in Canada, however, it’s most likely Facebook will roll out gain access to more extensively if the test is a success. Another hyperlocal social media network, Nextdoor, has shown the practicality of this model and is apparently looking for an IPO with an appraisal of between $4 billion and $5 billion.
Screenshots of the Neighborhoods function were shared on Twitter on Tuesday by social media specialist Matt Navarra, while an earlier version of the feature was found in Might by Jane Manchun Wong. A Facebook representative verified the test to Bloomberg, saying: “More than ever, people are using Facebook to take part in their regional communities. To help make it simpler to do this, we are rolling out a minimal test of Areas, a dedicated area within Facebook for people to connect with their next-door neighbors.”
The screenshots shared by Navarra show the onboarding procedure, with Facebook users prompted to “get in touch with next-door neighbors.” Users require to validate their place to be matched to their area (they can revoke access to this information later, though this will have a very little impact in terms of privacy unless the user later on moves away) and then create a restricted profile that can be seen by those neighboring, even if they’re not Facebook friends.
A welcome screen for the function tells users to remember 5 rules: “be inclusive,” “be kind,” “keep it local,” “keep it tidy,” and “share important info.” Users can welcome pals to sign up with and are triggered to answer concerns about their area and share images. Navarra reports that users can leave or switch areas at any time.
A focus on neighborhoods would match Facebook’s sluggish move toward smaller-sized communities. Over the last few years, the business has put more emphasis on personal and public groups, rather than more open sharing in between a user’s widest circle of pals.