Microsoft Teams takes on Facebook groups with community hubs

Microsoft Teams is now useful for organizing more than just your company meetings. Microsoft has introduced a communities feature on Android and iOS that effectively offers an alternative to Facebook groups for more personal uses — think of your softball team, a carpooling group or the local parent-teacher association. You can chat and make video calls, of course, but you can also arrange events, post messages and share documents.

As on Facebook, owners can moderate communities by setting rules and removing people or content. You can create both virtual and real-world events. If someone wants to join, you can invite them through email, phone numbers or scannable QR codes.

Communities in Teams are only available on mobile for now, but Microsoft says they’ll reach the desktop “soon” and that you only need the free app. In 2023, Microsoft will offer access to SignUpGenius to help you coordinate fundraisers and other good causes by helping you enlist volunteers and otherwise planning events.

The community hub expansion may seem odd, but it reflects a gradual shift away from Teams’ original role as a pure workplace collaboration tool and more as a general-purpose chat and socialization app. It became free for personal use last year, and recently received casual games to help break the ice with colleagues. This newest addition ventures even farther afield — Microsoft isn’t really creating a social network, but it is hoping to take over some of those duties.

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