In LinkedIn and Facebook posts today, Jennifer Dulski, most recently chief operating officer and president of Change.org, revealed that she has joined Facebook as head up its communities team Facebook Groups.
“At a time when our world seems increasingly divided and people are often feeling more alone, it is more important than ever to help people create and be part of communities that are meaningful to them – communities that teach us about each other and remind us of what we share rather than what pulls us apart,” she wrote.
“This is a big day for us because we've been trying to recruit Jen for a long time. Many of you already know she's a product star who’s focused on social impact,” added Chris Cox, chief product officer at Facebook on his own post.
Dulski leaves Change.org, the world’s largest platform for social change, at a time when the organization is seeing continued prominence and received a financial shot in the arm from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, who led a $30m round of investment.
Prior to Change.org, Dulksi had a run at Yahoo from 1999 to the end of 2007, occupying various roles including local & marketplaces, Yahoo Autos and brand manager of its shopping product. Additionally, Dulski was CEO and co-founder of The Dealmap which was subsequently acquired by Google in 2011.
Facebook Groups has 1bn of its 2bn users and, according to TechCrunch, has 100m people in what are called “meaningful Groups,” those that users feel are important to their daily lives. Per Wired, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg would like to see that audience grow to 1bn within five years.
“The communities that people create are inspiring: from groups that mobilized to rescue people in the recent hurricanes, to communities that connect over important personal topics like parenting, aging, race, religion, addiction and other health issues, to those who share diverse passions in groups like Lady Bikers of California, Alpaca Farm Life, Science Humor, Silk Saree Weavers, and The Beyhive for Beyoncé fans, there is a group for everyone,” noted Dulski in her Facebook post. “And there is enormous opportunity to make these communities even more relevant and meaningful for the people that join them.”
Part of the goal of Facebook Groups is to get highly-engaged communities together — Pantsuit Nation, for example, attracted hundreds of thousands of the platform’s users and the cult-like following of Instant Pot currently has north of 650,000 members in its group. Additionally, the ability to keep users engaged and on Facebook could be of benefit for brands as they continue to seek new ways to engage with consumers.
One key to success for Dulski and Facebook will be to get a handle, especially, on moderation features. Facebook’s challenges around fake news, hate speech and suspect ad buys from Russia notwithstanding, according to some, Groups presents a tremendous opportunity to galvanize communities and become a safe haven for brands in the future.