New Delhi: Facebook Inc. announced on Wednesday that over 80 million people in India use Facebook Groups each month to stay in touch with family, collaborate on projects, plan trips and offer support to friends. Globally, more than 1 billion people use Facebook Groups every month and the product has grown since it was launched in 2010.
The social media company said while Facebook was a great place to share information with friends and family, there was no way to share information with small groups of people. Hence, Groups was launched. According to Facebook global product manager Adit Vaidya, “Groups are spaces where you can share things with people who care about them the most. With Groups, we make it easy for you to build a space for important groups of people in your life—your family, your soccer team, your book club and bring like-minded people together to learn, support or rally around a common bond or interest.”
Vaidya also announced the roll-out of Groups Discover to users in India, a feature where users can browse groups by category and get recommendations based on their friends, location and interests. Discover offers 25 different categories such as parenting, sports, food, buy & sell, networking, animals & pets, hobby & leisure, support & comfort and travel. Each topic page highlights the top suggested Groups based on popularity and who you may already know that’s a member.
The Groups team has also been working to tweak the Groups experience so now it is possible for users to reply directly to specific comments on a post in Groups so people can navigate comments more easily and have deeper conversations and can more easily drag and drop in files to share more information within the group.
Additionally, Groups has rolled out Facebook Live in Groups and this allows one to broadcast live to just the people in a particular Facebook Group.
In India, Groups is being used in diverse ways—from a group of women in India coming together to crochet the world’s largest blanket to groups like Biz Divas, that is an educational networking forum for women that aims at empowering them with entrepreneurial, business, financial and personal development skills.
One of the largest groups in India is Mumbai Moms (MUMO) that has a Facebook community of 69,000 plus mothers from all across the city. What started out as a platform for connecting a few mothers in and around Mumbai in 2014, MUMO has now become a larger community and is a part of UNIMO – Universe of MOMS (page), which is the World’s largest mommy community on Facebook, reaching 91,000 mothers. MUMO also has, area wise, 98 WhatsApp groups to better connect all the members together.
Another popular Facebook Group in India is Teachers Help Teachers (THT) that was formed with the aim of sharing ideas, resources and information within the teaching community and has over 4,500 members. The group helps teachers to upgrade their knowledge while they are teaching by enabling them to sign up for certain courses which are offered by THT, besides helping in issues related to salary, teacher recruitment techniques and processes and latest teaching technologies. In the long term, THT aims to get teachers to sign up on its website, where resources will be sold and purchased by teachers for various subject areas.
So, is Groups Discover going to work? According to Anshoo Nandwaani, vice president and principal analyst, Greyhound Research, “Groups Discover is aimed at improving visibility of existing groups (and potentially) help start new groups on topics of common interest. Having said that, it is important to note that Groups are more sticky compared to Pages which are public and open in nature. Hence, by introducing Groups Discover, Facebook intends to drive more engagement on their platform. It is also important to view this announcement in light of the June 2016 announcement wherein Facebook prioritized family and friends’ posts in people’s news feeds. This impacted the reach and referral traffic for marketers. Groups Discover can potentially help marketers remedy this by engaging with prospective customers via Groups.”