Facebook launches new app for its Groups feature as it moves to expand beyond core app

Facebook is launching a new free app for its popular Groups feature that gives users a chance to create and interact on the website with communities based on shared interests such as hobbies, geography or culture.

Facebook Inc. has been trying to expand its presence on people's mobile devices by creating — and charging for — apps such as Messenger, Paper, Instagram and WhatsApp. But it won't require people to use the stand-alone app to use Facebook Groups. They will still be able to access Groups through the Facebook app or on the website.

More than 700 million of Facebook's 1.35 billion members use Groups, according to the company. People use the groups to plan holiday dinners, for example, or to discuss hobbies, health issues or other shared interests.