Imagined Online Communities: Communionship, Sovereignty, and Inclusiveness in Facebook Groups

Sharifa Sultana, Pratyasha Saha, Shaid Hasan, S. M. Raihanul Alam, Rokeya Akter, Md Mirajul Islam, Raihan Islam Arnob, A. K.M. Najmul Islam, Mahdi Nasrullah Al-Ameen, Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Through Facebook "Group"feature, users often sensitize communionships, join different Facebook groups, and establish imagined communities with known people and strangers. In our interview study with 32 admins and users of Facebook groups, we explored the influential factors of such communionships, the challenges the Facebook group admins face while managing these communities, and how they resolve those. Our findings show that admins set rules for the entry and maintenance of the groups, monitor members' activities, and often limit their actions or mute them during conflicts. Thus, the members and admins of the groups together grow a sensibility of sovereignty within the community on Facebook. While the imagined sovereignty in Facebook groups is empowering, this empowerment may not be perceived and experienced evenly by everyone in such online communities. To explain this, we build on the concept of "Imagined Communities' by Benedict Anderson [16 ] and argue that there is a tension between Facebook admins' perceived sovereignty and other users' empowerment in practice. Our work joins the body of CSCW literature that aims at designing more sustainable and collaborative tools for specific communities on Facebook groups and other similar platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number407
JournalProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction
Issue numberCSCW2
StatePublished - Nov 11 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • connectionism
  • Facebook
  • imagined community
  • social media
  • solidarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Networks and Communications


Dive into the research topics of 'Imagined Online Communities: Communionship, Sovereignty, and Inclusiveness in Facebook Groups'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this