Meta axes yet another flagging Facebook feature in apparent cost-cutting move

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Add another victim to Meta’s hit list as the company recently announced it’s shutting down Facebook Neighborhoods on October 1.

The shut down notice was first shared by social media consultant Matt Navarra on Twitter who posted a screenshot of a Meta project manager going by the mononym Tohm making the announcement on a Facebook Group. The project manager goes on to say the official Group for Neighborhoods will close on September 7 with the official service shutting down on October 1.

Facebook Neighborhoods has been referred to as Meta’s answer to Nextdoor, a social networking app where people can share posts, news, and sell items to others living in their local area. Neighborhoods was first seen in late 2020 when it launched as a pilot program in Calgary, Canada before officially rolling out to the rest of the country and select US cities in May 2021. 

Neighborhoods is similar in function to Facebook Groups, but has some unique features like allowing people to create different profiles separate from their main account for their locality. Privacy concerns plagued the service, however. When it was first tested, some were worried Neighborhoods could be used to collect user data and deliver focused ads.

Shifting priorities

Initially, it was unknown why Meta is shutting down Neighborhoods. The Meta project manager didn’t say why in the post. 

We reached out to Meta and a company representative told us it “learned that the best place to support… local communities is through [G]roups”. Neighborhoods was supposed to be a way to bring local communities together, but Facebook Groups already did that job just fine.

Plus, Meta is working on Facebook’s search function to be more of a “discovery engine” as the representative refers to it. This “discovery engine” will have local content and groups appear more often in an effort to make public communities easier to find. Instagram Reels will also get more of priority to help people share and discuss their interests.

Essentially, Meta is refocusing their efforts towards features it believes are better. However, the Neighborhoods shut down continues a recent cancellation spree by the tech giant of cutting unpopular features.

Meta’s many cancellations

When the COVID-19 pandemic first started, Meta launched a variety of features aimed at furthering online interactions since people were going to be spending more time indoors. But over time, the company has been steadily getting rid of them.

You had services like Facebook Live Shopping, the Novi digital wallet, and Facebook Gaming come out during the pandemic with every single one getting axed. Some apps, like Tuned which launched as a way for couples to stay connected while social distancing, have managed to survive up to this point but for how much longer?

It’s also important to point out that Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a July Q&A session with employees the company is going through “one of the worst downturns [it’s] seen in recent history.” If this downturn is indeed the cause of this cancellation spree, be prepared to see way more features getting hacked off.

As it gets rid of these pandemic-era features, Meta appears 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 its premium features. Some users, like Techradar’s own Daryl Baxter, are not happy with this new direction to say the least.

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