Facebook Tests Nextdoor Rival ‘Neighborhoods’ in Canada

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Facebook is building a feature for users of its social network to connect with their neighbours, a push toward more intimate interactions that treads on the idea behind rival Nextdoor, which is considering a public offering.

Screenshots of Facebook’s new feature, which is currently being tested, were shared on Twitter Tuesday by Matt Navarra, a social media consultant. The images show a product called Neighborhoods, where users can enter their address and complete a unique “neighbourhood profile.” A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the company is testing the feature in one market: Calgary. The screen grabs show the software using the Canadian English spelling of its name.

facebook-tests-nextdoor-rival-‘neighborhoods’-in-canadaOther images show Facebook reminding users that its “community standards” still apply inside the Neighborhoods feature and the company encourages people to “Keep It Clean” and “Be Inclusive.”

“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 neighbours.”

Facebook had been pushing people toward more intimate interactions within the app in recent years, including private groups and messaging, as a way to increase usage of its services. It has also started to encourage users to create separate profiles within their larger Facebook profile for specific cases, like dating and college connections.

The Neighborhoods feature is notable given the popularity of Nextdoor, a neighbourhood-based social network founded in 2008 that has raised about $470 million (roughly Rs. 3,464 crores) in funding. Nextdoor is considering different options for going public, including a direct listing, Bloomberg News reported last week. The San Francisco-based company says it serves more than 2,68,000 neighbourhoods globally, including about a quarter of US neighbourhoods, on the service. Each neighbourhood works as its own mini-social network, and people use it to do everything from selling used goods to posting about crime or neighborhood events.

When Facebook enters a new market, it can have an immediate impact on competitors already in the space. When the Menlo Park, California-based company launched its dating product in the US, for example, Match stock fell as much as 7 percent.

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