Facebook is experimenting with a new audio feature for Groups. The company is testing audio channels, which will bring Discord-like voice chats to Groups, Facebook shared in a blog post.
Facebook has already had audio features for Groups with rooms. But unlike that feature, which is meant for one-time audio chats, audio channels are dedicated spaces where group members can speak with each other at any time, much like Discord.
The change is one of several updates the social network is testing. The company is also experimenting with other types of “channels,” essentially sub-groups within each Facebook Group, where members can discuss specific topics. There are community chat channels, which organize group message threads around topics relevant to a given group; as well as community feed channels, which are topic-based spaces within the group.
Facebook is also testing a new sidebar that will make all users’ Groups more prominent in its app (and have dedicated shortcuts for creating new channels). For now, all of these features are tests that will only be available to a small subset of users, but the company intends to roll out the changes more broadly over time.
The updates come as Facebook is eyeing bigger changes for its main app. The company is working on a broader redesign that would reorient users’ feeds around AI-driven recommendations more than their existing social graphs. At the same time, the new sidebar is meant to ensure that Groups remain prominent and easily accessible once the app’s main feed changes.