Twitter introduces new Communities feature hoping to encourage connection between users

Twitter launching 'Communities', which is like Facebook's 'Groups'.
Photo credit: Twitter

Twitter has announced the pilot of a new tool called Communities, similar to Facebook Groups, designed for users to find and connect with others with similar interests.

Some of the initial communities being tested include "dogs, weather, sneakers, skincare, and astrology, with many more to come, reflecting more of the thriving and niche discussions on Twitter," wrote David Regan, staff product manager at the micro-blogging platform.

Users who join a community can send a tweet to that group only - and only members of that community can reply and join the conversation.

However, "community pages and timelines are publicly available so anyone can read, quote tweet, and report community tweets," Regan said.

Community creation is currently limited but more people will be allowed to make them in the coming months, the company said. Users interested in setting up a community can request it via the Twitter website during the pilot.

The company will appoint moderators in the short-term. Moderators will pick the focus, create the rules and invite members to each community, as well as appointing other moderators.

Users have to be invited to a community by a moderator or another member at the moment but Twitter will be adding more ways to find and join them soon, it said.

Communities is currently only available to a group of initial participants on iOS and web with Android users only being able to access a read-only version.

This is the latest in a series of new functionality rolled out by the micro-blogging platform in recent times.

Last week it launched a safety feature allowing users to temporarily block accounts for seven days for harmful language or sending uninvited replies.

That followed on from "super follows", which allows creators to generate monthly revenue by sharing subscriber-only content with their followers and "ticketed spaces" offering the chance to charge for live audio conversations.

Earlier this year the company rolled out its Twitter Blue subscription, allowing users to review and revise tweets and create a reader mode that makes threads easier to read.