With Redesign Coming Soon, Facebook Introduces Groups to the News Feed

As more and more information comes out about Facebook’s forthcoming news feed redesign, the company has made an interesting and somewhat related announcement. It is introducing a new version of groups, that makes groups look more like pages and personal profiles and puts activity from groups into users’ news feeds.

The Groups page redesign, which will start rolling out today, will include a wall and the “publisher” so group members can easily post and discuss information. The move is not particularly surprising, given Facebook’s many efforts to streamline the interface to a few key features.

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Here’s the big change, though, about the introduction of groups to feeds, from the company blog today:

[G]roup activities, which previously only appeared in the group, will now be delivered to your News Feed. To ensure that you get the most interesting and relevant content from groups you’ve joined, you only will see stories when one of your friends posts within a group rather than when all members post. For example, you now will see a story when your friend uploads photos from a recent party at your high school alumni group or when one of your friends posts a message on the Wall of your pick-up soccer group saying that there is a special game this week.

Now that groups have been given presence in the news feed, they’re once again core of the Facebook site. The fact that these stories will appear in your news feed means you can make comments or like items in groups within the feed instead of having to click into the group. You’ll be able to sort the feed using a “Groups” filter in the left-hand friends list column.

However, group administrators will still apparently not be able to publish into the stream for all group members to see (only friends’ posts will be visible in the stream). Those interested in messaging large numbers of Facebook users should use a Page instead of a group (see our previous coverage: 4 Reasons Why Marketers Should Choose Facebook Pages Over Facebook Groups).

And, because Facebook is going to shortly be introducing an algorithmically-tuned version of the news feed, expect items from groups to come bubbling up within the forthcoming feed. The company said in a new advertising document that it plans to include at least “group invites” within the main feed — today’s news suggests it’s going to be more than that.