Facebook Simplifies Group Privacy Settings for Admins

Facebook Simplifies Group Privacy Settings for Admins

Facebook is an excellent place for marketers to build communities based around a product, cause, fandom, and more. Organizations can use Facebook Gr

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Facebook is an excellent place for marketers to build communities based around a product, cause, fandom, and more. Organizations can use Facebook Groups to communicate with audiences that want to share information and content. However, the groups feature has been problematic for Facebook at times, and they’ve recently made changes to privacy settings that will affect how users interact with groups.

The new system replaces the old privacy settings with two settings and one option. Group admins can choose between “Public” and “Private” settings. Groups that have the “Private” setting also have a “Visibility” option which determines if the group can be found by searching.

As Jordan Davis explained in a post announcing the change, “We’re making this change because we’ve heard from people that they want more clarity about the privacy settings for their groups. Having two privacy settings -; public and private -; will help make it clearer about who can find the group and see the members and posts that are part of it. We’ve also heard that most people prefer to use the terms “public” and “private” to describe the privacy settings of groups they belong to.”

These changes will apply to currently existing groups. By default, a group that was formerly “secret” will now be “private” and “hidden.” A group that was previously “closed” will now be “private” and “visible.” Groups that are “public” will remain “public” and “visible.”

For most marketers, this change in policy won’t really affect the groups they manage. The purpose of any Facebook Group run by a marketing team is to get everyday people to join. The best way to do this will be to leave the privacy settings at “Public.”

Facebook’s decision to simplify the options will help group admins choose the privacy level that’s appropriate for its content and goals for the group. However, it’s an odd decision to make given some of the criticism that Facebook has received for not monitoring group content closely enough. By allowing people to hide Facebook Groups from search results, it makes it harder for outside organizations to find groups whose content violate Facebook’s Community Standards.

The company may have anticipated such concerns. In their post, the Facebook Product Manager notes that the Community Standards are still in effect for all Facebook Groups. They also mentioned that their proactive detection software was getting better at detecting and removing groups that violated the rules and touted other efforts the company made to increase online safety.

As Davis wrote in the post, “Increasingly, we can use AI and machine learning to proactively detect bad content before anyone reports it, and sometimes before people even see it. As content is flagged by our systems or reported by people, trained reviewers consider context and determine whether the content violates our Community Standards. We then use these examples to train our technology to get better at finding and removing similar content.”

The change to make privacy settings clearer helps groups admins, but the decision probably serves Facebook’s interest more than anyone else’s. Making it easier for people to hide controversial Facebook groups from non-members will spare the company a few of the bad headlines that come when such groups are exposed to the general public.

While most marketers will only need the “Public” setting, there are some exceptional cases when group admins need to use the “Private” setting.  If you were using a “Closed” or “Secret” group in the past, check to ensure that the new settings are what you want for the group.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

This article is from Inc.com

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