X is adopting a feature that’s currently used across many Facebook Groups to vet members before joining: required questions. The company formerly known as Twitter announced today that admins of private Communities on X can now require users to answer a question when they request to join, along with agreeing to the group’s rules. The answers to the questions could help admins and moderators decide who should be able to join and offer some minimal protection against spammers and bots, who could disrupt their group with unwelcome posts.
The feature could also potentially evaluate Communities on X to have a more exclusive status, where only some people are allowed in, as admins weigh their responses to determine their worthiness. On the flip side, however, it could also allow for groups that toe the line of X’s terms and policies by keeping people out who might flag or report the group’s content.
Facebook Groups offers a similar questions feature, though it’s much more robust. On Facebook, admins can require users to answer multiple questions before being able to join and also insist they agree to their group’s own specific set rules. Some groups even quiz prospective members on what the rules state to ensure they have read them.
Though anyone can make a Facebook Group, building and running Communities on X is a feature that’s limited to X Premium subscribers as only “verified” users can create a Community. Verification, of course, is the flagship feature of X’s paid subscription. Joining Communities, however, is open to all X users. That’s led to some of the larger groups having sizable user bases. For example, the Apple Community has 52,500 members, Tech Twitter has 29,500 members, The Design Sphere has 117,000 members, and Movie Twitter has 119,600 members, to name a few of the larger groups. Still, broader adoption of the feature may be limited by the fact that not everyone can make a Community of their own.
It’s interesting to note that Communities have not been among the numerous features that got the chopping block under Elon Musk’s ownership. Since the Tesla and SpaceX exec took over Twitter/X, he’s axed quite a few features and services, including its newsletter platform Revue, support for ad-free news articles, support for third-party clients, and its private Circle feature for sharing with friends. It also stuck TweetDeck (now called XPro) behind a paywall and raised the prices to access its developer API.
Communities today feel like an underdeveloped feature that doesn’t quite fit into the fast-flowing timeline on X, offering a quieter and more isolated space to post about a topic or theme. It’s not clear what larger vision X has in store for its groups feature or if they’ll ever become a more prominent part of X’s service, or how.