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Facebook is testing a sidebar for Groups and channels for focused discussions

A graphic showing three phones with various UIs of Facebook Groups and Facebook Channels open

Meta has announced a couple of new features that it is testing for Facebook. Both are designed to increase engagement in different formats, especially among established communities of people. There are two capabilities under consideration, namely a new sidebar for Facebook Groups and a channel mechanism for more focused discussions.

Starting off with the new sidebar, this will host a list of all the groups you are a member of and the associated content in them that you haven't seen yet. That's not all though. You can also pin groups, discover new ones, and create your own. Groups themselves are being reorganized too through a menu that includes events, shops, and channels.

Channels is the other feature being tested. Simply stated, these are smaller communities within groups so you can have more focused discussions. The idea is to have a group around one topic and then have channels within them for different subtopics.

Channels come in three formats: chat, audio, and feed. While the first-one is self-explanatory, the second allows members to engage in audio conversations in real time with the ability to join or leave an audio channel at any time. Meanwhile, a feed behaves like a group within a group, showing posts and related engagement.

There is no word yet on when Meta will conclude testing of these new features and make them generally available for everyone.

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