Facebook is getting tougher on groups that continually break Facebook’s rules. If a group keeps violating Facebook’s policies, the platform will increase the severity of its punishments incrementally until the group is removed entirely.
Facebook Continues Its Crackdown on Harmful Groups
Facebook detailed the new measures it’s taking to secure groups in a post on the About Facebook blog.
To start, Facebook will display notifications to users if they are about to join a group that has repeatedly violated Facebook’s Community Standards. The prompt will give users two options: Review Group and Join Group Anyway. This gives users a chance to reconsider joining the group in question.
Facebook will also “limit invite notifications” for these types of groups, which may deter users from joining. The existing members of rulebreaking groups will also notice that the content posted by the group will appear lower in their News Feeds, making it harder to find.
If a large number of group members have violated Facebook’s Community Standards, the group’s moderators and admins will have to temporarily approve all posts. And if a moderator continues to approve posts that violate Facebook’s policies, the platform will take the group down altogether.
Facebook plans on holding group members accountable as well. If a user has repeatedly broken Facebook’s rules, they’ll be unable to post or comment in any group on Facebook. The offending user will also be barred from creating new groups or inviting other users to groups.
To combat more severe violations of its rules, Facebook says that it will “outright remove groups and people,” instead of gradually removing users’ privileges on Facebook, or simply limiting the reach of certain groups.
Facebook also noted that it will continue to remove low-quality groups from users’ recommendations. In September 2020, the platform stopped recommending health groups in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. And just before the 2020 US election, Facebook blocked political group recommendations to curb the spread of misinformation.
Can Facebook Put a Stop to Harmful Groups?
Facebook stated that the above changes will be launched around the world in the next few months. The real question is: can Facebook successfully enforce these new rules?
It took down a massive “Stop the Steal” group in November 2020, which is a sign that the platform isn’t afraid to take down sizeable groups due to policy violations. But even with all of these restrictions in place, Facebook might not be able to catch all policy violations until harmful content has already been spread.
A Facebook group with over 300,000 members was quickly removed for delegitimizing the US election.
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