Facebook is taking some drastic measures to limit the spread of harmful content and restrict the reach of problematic users on the platform. The social media giant has announced several new steps to ensure better moderations on Facebook groups.
Group members who violate its rules will face repercussions including probation, taking away ‘like’ and ‘comment’ privileges.
“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,” Facebook said in a blog post.
The company said groups and members that violate its rules will have reduced privileges and reach. Restrictions would get more severe as they accrue more violations, until they are removed from the platform completely. In cases of severe harm, it will remove groups and members straight away without these steps in between.
“When a group starts to violate our rules, we will now start showing them lower in recommendations, which means it’s less likely that people will discover them. This is similar to our approach in News Feed, where we show lower quality posts further down, so fewer people see them,” Tom Alison, VP of Engineering, Facebook wrote on the blog.
As per the new norms, Facebook will alert new members that they are about to join a group that has community standards violations. It will restrict invite notifications for these groups to prevent their reach and growth. For existing members, it will limit the distribution of content so that they are shown lower in News Feed.
“We think these measures as a whole, along with demoting groups in recommendations, will make it harder to discover and engage with groups that break our rules,” blog post said.
On groups where a substantial number of members have violated the Facebook policies or were part of other groups that were removed for breaking our rules, admins and moderators are required to temporarily approve all posts. It will ensure that the content won’t be shown to the wider group until an admin or moderator reviews and approves it. According to the new policy, if an admin or moderator repeatedly approves content that breaks its rules, it will take the entire group down.
Members who violate laws reputedly will be blocked from being able to post or comment for a period of time in any group. They will be banned from inviting others or creating new groups.
Facebook periodically updates its Community Standards around the themes of authenticity, safety, privacy, and dignity of its users.
“The consequences for violating our Community Standards vary depending on the severity of the violation and the person’s history on the platform. For instance, we may warn someone for a first violation, but if they continue to violate our policies, we may restrict their ability to post on Facebook or disable their profile. We also may notify law enforcement when we believe there is a genuine risk of physical harm or a direct threat to public safety,” says its community standards page.