That avocado toast fan page is about to get a lot more interesting. If your Jimmy Neutron Facebook Group has felt a bit dull, that's probably because the social media giant didn't allow members to jump into a giant, early '00s-style group chat Well, Facebook plans to gradually roll out a new feature that will allow Groups to launch specific sub-chats up to 250 members. Not only that, groups can start audio or video calls with up to 50 members. Facebook communities will likely enjoy this new form of direct communication. And Facebook considered pain-points users might have with notifications, and made it so that users must opt-in to a chat before getting updates. It's also possible to adjust notification settings to stop all alerts, or only get alerts when somebody specifically @ mentions you. Group admins can shut down chats, or make it so that only admins can approve chats. As for people who want to make group chats with just their friends, a similar feature was launched earlier this year for Messenger. It too has limits of 250 people and many of the same features that Facebook will be rolling out to Groups. There are currently 1.4 billion people active in Facebook Groups. By allowing large group chats, Facebook is hoping that users will continually come back to the site, increasing overall engagement. The company is also hoping to get 1 billion people into what it calls "meaningful Groups," or group--even silly Jimmy Neutron ones--that have high user engagement. In May Facebook announced that 200 million people were already in these "meaningful Groups," so it's likely that by adding more engaging features, people will continue to return. And earlier this year, the company made changes to its News Feed algorithm to push more content from friends and family, and less from businesses and media. The goal here is to make sure people are having fun with the platform, and not engaging with Russian trolls.
The chats can also support audio or video calls with up to 50 people in them. The idea is that users in big groups — like a book club or surfing club — will be able to have smaller conversations about things like local meetups that may not be relevant to the entire group. In-Group chats can be viewed by all members of the group, and anyone already in the group can join or be invited. Crucially, Facebook wont spam you with notifications for each message in the thread until you accept the invitation to join, and users will be able to further filter that by only getting notifications when theyre directly @-mentioned. Group admins will also be able to shut down chats or set it so that only admins can start threads to help limit spam. Facebook will slowly roll out the new Messenger features to Groups starting today.