Add another victim to Meta’s hit list, as the company recently announced that it is shutting down Facebook Neighborhoods on October 1.
The shutdown notice was first shared by social media consultant Matt Navarra on Twitter (opens in new tab) who posted a screenshot of a Meta project manager using the mononym Tohm making the announcement in a Facebook group. The project manager goes on to say that the official Neighborhood Group will close on September 7th, with the official service ending on October 1st.
Facebook Neighborhoods was referred to as Meta’s answer to Nextdoor (opens in new tab), a social networking app where people can share posts, news and sell items to others who live in their local area. Neighborhoods was first seen in late 2020 when it was launched as a pilot program in Calgary, Canada, before rollout to the rest of the country and select US cities (opens in new tab) in May 2021.
Neighborhoods is similar in function to Facebook Groups, but has some unique features, such as allowing people to create different profiles separate from their main account for their location. Privacy concerns plagued the service, however. When it was first tested, some were concerned that Neighborhoods could be used to collect user data and deliver targeted ads.
change of priorities
Initially, it was not known why Meta is closing Neighborhoods. The Meta project manager did not say why in the post.
We contacted Meta and a company representative told us that they “learned that the best place to support… local communities is through [G]Neighborhoods were supposed to be a way to bring local communities together, but Facebook Groups already did this job very well.
Additionally, Meta is working on Facebook’s search function to be more of a “discovery engine,” as the rep refers to it. This “discovery engine” will have local content and groups will appear more frequently in an effort to make public communities easier to find. Instagram Reels will also be given higher priority to help people share and discuss their interests.
Essentially, Meta is refocusing its efforts on features it believes are better. However, the Neighborhoods closure continues a recent wave of cancellations by the tech giant to cut unpopular features.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Meta launched a variety of resources aimed at promoting online interactions as people would spend more time indoors. But over time, the company has been getting rid of them.
Have you had services like Live shopping on FacebookThe Novi digital walletand Facebook Games come out during the pandemic with each one being cut. Some apps, like tuned that were pitched as a way for couples to stay connected during social distancing, have managed to survive to this point, but how much longer?
It is also important to point out that the CEO of Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, said in a July Q&A with staff (opens in new tab) the company is going through “one of the worst crises [it’s] seen in recent history.” If this slowdown is indeed the cause of this wave of cancellations, be prepared to see a lot more resources being encroached upon.
As it rids itself of these pandemic-era features, Meta seems to be throwing the proverbial spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks. According to a leaked memo, Facebook and Instagram may start charging people for some of their premium features. Some users, like Techradar’s Daryl Baxter, aren’t happy with this new direction, to say the least.