Social media network Nextdoor has been moving in on part of Facebook’s turf. Now, the tech giant is apparently looking to strike back. Facebook is testing a new tool aimed at helping people get to know their neighbors and local communities, Cnet reported.
Facebook said Wednesday (May 5) that it plans to offer the new feature, called Neighborhoods, in four U.S. cities along with Canada. The social media giant said the feature will help people find neighbors and groups that have common interests and local businesses that appeal to them.
In addition, users can participate in polls or even offer help to people in their “neighborhood.” Facebook users have to be at least 18 years old to use the new tool.
The test cities include Charlotte, North Carolina; San Diego; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Newark, New Jersey. In general, Facebook users can already use the social network for this variety of purposes through “groups,” but Neighborhoods combines all this information in one place.
“We’re not only showing people who lives in their neighborhood, but how they relate to them and what these people are interested in and care about,” Reid Patton, product manager for Facebook Neighborhoods, told Cnet.
He added that Canadians have already used the tool to find missing pets, organize hiking trips, make new friends, find a handyman and get baking materials.
Using the Neighborhoods feature is optional, and users will need to share their location to get matched to a neighborhood. Users can also provide more information about their interests beyond their profile, such as dog-lover. Or, perhaps: Crazy Cat Lady.
Users who are eligible to test out Neighborhoods will get a notification and a banner in the Facebook app encouraging them to try it out.
For its part, Nextdoor has big ambitions. For example, last October it started to look at going public through an initial public offering (IPO) of stock. It was reportedly looking at a valuation of $4 billion to $5 billion.