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Facebook announced new changes to Groups that are designed to combat harmful content like hate speech and misinformation. Going forward, the social media giant will throttle the reach of rule-breaking groups – both public and private – as well as punish rule-breaking members.
Groups that start to violate Facebook rules will now be shown lower in recommendations. Facebook has also entirely removed civic and political groups from recommendations in the US – something it now plans to extend globally.
The company noted that it already did the same for health groups. It will also inform users when they’re about to join a group that has violated its community standards.
Facebook has previously drawn tremendous criticism for allowing political extremism and COVID misinformation on its platform – something that Apple CEO Tim Cook very publicly alluded to.
Now, Facebook is promising progressively punitive measures for rule-breaking groups and members up to complete removal. For severe cases, Facebook will opt for immediate removal without any steps – like reduced privileges and reach – in between.
Other changes include requiring admins and moderators to temporarily approve all posts when a group has a lot of rule-breakers or former members of other groups that were shut down for breaking rules. And if the admins and moderators themselves keep approving content that breaks Facebook’s rules, the whole group goes.
Facebook will also prevent repeat violators in groups from posting or commenting in any group for a certain period of time. They’ll also be barred from inviting others to groups or starting new groups.
Depending on how you looking at it, Facebook seems to be admitting that its previous whack-a-mole approach hasn’t worked. Now the platform keep tracks of violations across groups and accounts for possible coordination between rule-breakers.
It said the changes will be rolled out globally over the “coming months”. If you love to hang out in Facebook Groups or even manage some of them, we do recommend you to take a look at the list of changes that are coming your way right here.
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