Facebook is testing hyperlocal mini networks

Facebook it getting hyperlocal and testing out the new features. Nextdoor, which is reportedly seeking an IPO with a valuation of between $4 billion and $5 billion, has shown the viability of this model.

The Verge posted:

” … The company confirmed this week that it’s testing a new feature that encourages users to post and share news in miniature social networks focused on small geographical areas. Users can create special profiles that share limited information with their neighbors, while Facebook itself will use the detailed location data it collects from those enrolled to serve “more relevant” ads.

“The feature, named Neighborhoods, is currently being tested in just a single market, Calgary in Canada, but it’s likely Facebook will roll out access more widely if the test is a success. …

This change in strategy has not been uncontroversial, though. Facebook’s critics say its new focus on groups has amplified a number of unpleasant trends, from the growth of the anti-vax movement to militias using Facebook groups to incite violence. Moderating these groups has required more effort than Facebook is willing to give, and the same damaging dynamics could easily repeat themselves in neighborhood-focused enclaves. 

Facebook confirmed the test in a statement to Bloomberg:

“More than ever, people are using Facebook to participate in their local communities,” the spokeswoman said in a statement. “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.”

TechCrunch reports:

“Through Neighborhoods, Facebook is doubling down on one of the most popular ways that the social network is already being used — and by an increasing number of people, one of the only ways that it’s being used these days — via Groups, which bypass your own social graph and connect you with other kinds of communities.

“A lot of Groups use is at its best organic, not prompted or productized by Facebook, so with Neighborhoods, it seems the company is now exploring ways to more proactively, inorganically dig into that role.”