Facebook published a newsroom post to announce changes that have been made to the way it recommends groups and will also be limiting the reach of those that break its rules. The new policies are part of a continued effort to clean up misinformation and harmful content, like hate speech and misinformation, and make it harder for certain groups to operate or be discovered, whether they’re Public or Private. When a group repeatedly breaks these rules, Facebook will take it down entirely.
“We know we have a greater responsibility when we are amplifying or recommending content,” Tom Alison, Facebook’s Vice President of Engineering, said in the post. “As we work to make sure that potentially harmful groups aren’t recommended to people, we try to be careful not to penalize high-quality groups on similar topics. The tension we navigate isn’t between our business interests and removing low-quality groups — it’s about taking action on potentially harmful groups while still ensuring that community leaders can grow their groups that follow the rules and bring people value. We try to balance this carefully in our recommendations guidelines” .
While people can still invite friends to newly created groups or search for them, Facebook has now started to expand these restrictions globally. This builds on restrictions they have made to recommendations, like removing health groups from these surfaces, as well as groups that repeatedly share misinformation.
Facebook is also adding more nuance to their enforcement. When a group starts to violate their rules, it will now start showing up lower in recommendations, which means it’s less likely that people will discover them. This is similar to Facebook’s approach in News Feed, where they show lower quality posts further down, so fewer people see them. When necessary in cases of severe harm, Facebook will outright remove groups and people without these steps in between.
“There is always more to do to keep Facebook Groups safe, and we will continue to build and invest to make sure people can rely on these places for connection and support.” stated Tom in the closing of the post.