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Facebook launches ‘Neighborhoods’ feature to connect local communities

The social network will now allow eligible users in select regions to connect with neighbours, find businesses nearby, and find and receive assistance when they need it.

FILE PHOTO: People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014.
FILE PHOTO: People are silhouetted as they pose with mobile devices in front of a screen projected with a Facebook logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014. (REUTERS)

Apps that connect people living in a specific locality are not exactly a new concept, and many apps have offered the ability to connect with neighbours using an app or via a web service, such as Kahuti, Chummy, Nextdoor, and Zingr. Facebook is now getting in on the action with a new Neighborhoods tool, according to a new report.

In October last year, we had reported that the social networking company had started working on a new feature to connect people with their neighbours, that was being tested in Calgary, Canada. While the company did launch the feature today, it will still be accessible only in Canada and four US cities, according to CNET.

Read more: Facebook building neighborhood feature as Nextdoor eyes IPO

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Readers in India might recall that Google had launched an app in Mumbai in 2018 called Neighbourly, an experimental service that allowed users to learn more about their neighbourhood from their neighbours. While the company had expanded the test to a few other cities, Google finally announced it was shutting the service down in 2020, presumably due to a low number of users accessing the service.

Past coverage: Neighbourly, Google’s hyperlocal social networking app is shutting down

There’s no word on if and when Facebook will launch the Neighborhoods feature in India. However, users who are eligible to access the service will be notified by the app, which will then use their location to connect them to people in the neighbourhood. Newly created accounts, or those who have repeatedly violated the site’s community standards will be blocked from accessing the service, according to the report.

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