On Friday, Facebook announced its new Facebook Community Leadership Program. The goal of this global initiative is to get people more involved in directing, leading, and building communities.
The social media juggernaut also released a new set of Facebook Group tools, for both admins and groups members. Evidently, the idea is to use Facebook Groups as a means for people to build these communities.
Facebook is also opening a community leaders in residence program. Five community leaders will be awarded up to $1,000, 000 each to fund their cause. In addition, 100 leaders will be selected for a fellowship program and receive up to $50,000 each for their specific initiative.
New tools for managing Facebook Groups include viewing group insights, easier group management, group announcements, customization—such as selecting a personalized color to display throughout the group, and group rules.
Mark Zuckerberg posted a comment about the new program on his feed:
Last year I met Matt Prestbury. He runs a group for black fathers out of Baltimore. It’s a way for dads to get together — online and in the physical world — to talk about the challenges they face and find support.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that almost every strong community has a strong leader. They could be the pastor of a church, the coach of a little league team, or the neighbor who’s always there if you need something. Great leaders set the culture, inspire us, and look out for our well-being. They help build communities that didn’t exist before. And we believe that if we work to give them more tools, they could do even more.
Today we’re opening our first-ever Facebook Community Leadership Program. Our goal is to find people who are using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger to bring people closer together. We’ll pick up to five leaders around the world and give them up to $1 million to fund their ideas for doing even more. We’ll invite 100 leaders to be part of our fellowship program that includes training, mentorship, and up to $50,000 for a specific initiative.
This program is about finding and supporting great community leaders wherever they are. It’s not just about helping people come together online.
The effort is being spearheaded by Jennifer Dulski, Head of Groups and Community, and Ime Archibong, Vice President, Product Partnerships.
The Facebook Community announcement is very much in line with Zuckerberg’s vision for making Facebook “good for your well-being and for society.” On Jan. 11 he posted this:
One of our big focus areas for 2018 is making sure the time we all spend on Facebook is time well spent. We built Facebook to help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us. That’s why we’ve always put friends and family at the core of the experience. Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being and happiness.
But recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other.
Since then, Facebook has rolled out several updates with the purpose of making Facebook better for your well-being. This includes a reduction in the amount of news, video, and sponsored content people see in their news feed. Also, Facebook recently increased the amount of local news a person views in their feed.
Zuckerberg also shared the social media platform’s jaw-dropping growth numbers. More than 2.1 billion people now use Facebook every month and 1.4 billion people use it every day. The platform grew 47% year-over-year to $40 billion. Recently, Facebook made headlines with its appointment of retiring AmEx CEO Ken Chenault to its board of directors, making Chenault one of the few African Americans to sit on the board of one of the largest Silicon Valley companies.
Facebook is now accepting applications for the residency and fellowship. To learn more and apply, visit http://communities.fb.com/