During the pandemic many users turned to online community pages and resources, now Facebook wants a centralized Neighborhood app.
SAN DIEGO — Facebook could be giving Nextdoor some competition.
During the pandemic, many neighbors turned to their community and online resources. Now Facebook is testing Neighborhoods, an app where you can connect with neighbors.
“We are trying to build tools throughout the entire experience to build these really strong and vibrant communities,” said Reid Patton, Product Manager, Facebook Neighborhoods.
Facebook says Neighborhoods is being tested in four U.S. cities including San Diego, Baton Rouge, Charlotte and Newark.
“We saw people in San Diego were using Facebook to connect and participate in their local community,” said Patton. “Facebook Neighborhoods takes all of the local community experiences you care about on Facebook and brings them into one centralized destination.”
Chula Vista resident, Tuba Kazan runs the Chula Vista Events and Community page and said neighborhood groups help strengthen her community.
“What is really important for me is the connection and making a difference,” said Kazan. “What’s happening in our community, the safety of our kids, safety of our neighbors.”
Here’s how Facebook explains Neighborhoods will work:
Like Marketplace, Groups, Friends Pages, you will find Neighborhoods. You have to be 18 years old or older to opt into your neighborhood and nearby neighborhoods.
It is a separate page than your friend page and uses your name, profile, cover photo from your Facebook page and your neighborhood.
You can also add more information such as interests, read or make posts, start or join a subgroup like bird watching or have a side conversation about the Padres game.
Facebook says there will be local administrators moderating to make sure users are neighborly and abiding by community guidelines.
“We try and think of it as your local watering hole or town square where you can come and participate in conversations with your neighbors,” said Patton.
This is not a new concept. The Nextdoor app connects neighbors with happenings, recommendations, safety and classifieds and Facebook Neighborhoods will do the same as well just with a different user experience.
You will be able to swipe through a neighbor directory to connect with other neighbors.
“Privacy comes in. How will it affect the group and individually the people,” said Kazan.
Facebook says what you say in Neighborhoods is not shared on your personal page and vice versa.
“Your engagement with neighborhoods, your posts and comments stay within neighborhoods,” said Patton.
Kazan hopes Facebook Neighborhoods will empower neighbors to strengthen their community.
“It takes one person to make a difference,” said Kazan.
There is not a date if or when Facebook will make Neighborhoods available in all cities. If you live in the city limits of San Diego you can test Neighborhoods on your app. Look for it on a banner, bookmarks, or you can type in “Neighborhoods” in the search bar.