Facebook is taking one of its most important steps to limit the influence and reach of problem groups. On Wednesday, the company announced a long list of policy changes which will impose new restrictions on individuals and communities who repeatedly break its rules.
The most visible of these changes is a new notification that people will see when they join groups with community standards violations. The message will invite you to review a group before joining it – although you don’t have to. At the same time, Facebook will limit invitation notifications from these groups. Those who are already part of these communities will see the group’s content appear further down in their News Feed. “We believe that these measures taken as a whole, along with the demotion of groups in the recommendations, will make it more difficult to find and engage with groups that break our rules,” the company said.
Facebook is also planning to put more pressure on moderators to take their responsibilities seriously. In groups with a “substantial” number of people who have violated company policies in the past or who are part of communities closed by Facebook, administrators and moderators will need to temporarily approve all posts. Moderators who repeatedly approve content that violates company rules will see the entire group banned.
Facebook will also impose new restrictions on particularly problematic people. A person with repeated violations in groups will not be able to post or comment on any of them within seven to 30 days. They will also lose the ability to invite other people to a group, as well as the ability to create new ones.
Finally, the company will not recommend civic and political groups to users around the world. It’s a policy change that relies on a Facebook set up ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. The company decided to make this gesture permanent in the aftermath of the January 6 riot at the United States Capitol. Facebook will be rolling out all of the above changes over the next few months.