Keeping Groups Safe

Facebook have announced a number of changes that are being rolled out and these will have an impact on groups.  Many will already know that the items displayed on your individual news feed have significantly changed in recent times.  Well, it’s about to change again and some material that is posted may have a serious impact on groups that fall into some of these categories …
Reducing misinformation
If a group repeatedly shares news stories rated false by independent fact-checkers, we will reduce their overall News Feed distribution. Group admins will be notified each time a piece of false news is posted in their group. We will also reduce the distribution of groups that intend to spread misinformation by filtering notifications from the group, and removing them from recommendations.
Updating the groups enforcement policy
We remove posts that violate our Community Standards on things like hate speech, and we remove any groups that consistently violate those standards. Now, when reviewing a group to decide whether or not to take it down, we will look at admin and moderator content violations, including posts by members that they have approved, as a stronger signal that the group violates our standards.

Equipping admins with additional tools
Admins know their communities best, and we want to empower them to manage healthy groups. To be more clear with admins about how and when we enforce our Community Standards in their groups, we will be adding a new feature called Group Quality. It gives admins an overview of content removed and flagged for Community Standards violations, as well as a section for False News found in the group. Tools like Group Quality, and the existing ability for admins to set and enforce rules, will help admins keep their groups safe. More information about Group Quality will be coming soon.
Bringing greater transparency and personal control to groups
When someone joins a group, they should know what type of community they will be a part of, and have control over the content they share. People can already see relevant details about a group, like the name change history of that group, as well as who the admins and moderators are. They can also preview a group they were invited to, and have the option to join the group or decline the invitation. Soon, we will also be rolling out the ability for people to remove all of their posts and comments from a group even if they are no longer a member.
The information was given to reporters by Facebook and can be seen in more detail here. The link also provides additional information about “Click Gap” signalling in the news feed and some changes to Instagram etc.
How does this affect Colne Talk?
Over the course of the last year or so, the admin team have noted the changes in notifications and the nature of the news feed both in Colne Talk and on personal news feeds. We’ve also noted the significant delays suffered by members  – including Admin – of when they are actually notified of relevant posts.  Some posts take literally days to appear!  This is not ideal for a community group where rapid information flow is often essential.
Couple these delays in notifications with the possibility of members posting misinformation (as described above), we have a situation where both the original poster and the group may be penalised.  We’ll have to see how this pans out … 
For about a year now, we’ve also been waiting for a number of features to be rolled out to us – such as ‘topics’.  Some newer groups will already have this feature, but we’re still waiting. (Topics are a way of grouping posts of a similar nature and will open up some extra options).
Historically, some subjects such as politics and advertising have been mainly avoided.  The consensus amongst most group admins up & down the country is that ‘politics is banned’.  Not sure if this is exactly what should be happening, but right now we just don’t have the admin tools within Facebook Groups to handle politics well.  In terms of Advertising – we’re looking into such mechanisms and also how to embrace some clear cut ‘community requirements’ … but … these will not be free of charge.
Our response was to create the new Colne Talk website and it is slowly moving forward.  This platform will eventually provide many more benefits for the community than can be achieved with Facebook group alone.  But there is a lot to do and it’s a slow process. 
Some local folk may have noticed our new Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Reddit profiles.  These are an attempt to improve information flow and to make sure we are not 100% reliant on Facebook … after all, Facebook can shutdown a group on a whim! (Many admins are complaining of this and that there is no mechanism of appeal).  So choose your preferred media! (We have had a public page on Facebook called ‘Visit Colne‘ since Jan 2015.  This page is subject to much tighter control, as it is a public page open to all – however, it has opened up local information to a wider audience).

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About Naz Alam 293 Articles
Naz is well known in the local community as a photo journalist. He is group creator for 'Colne Talk' - a Facebook Community Group which has approx 20K members. He also runs multiple Facebook pages for the local community & local business, such as 'Visit Colne'.