Facebook used its Facebook Communities Summit virtual event Thursday to introduce several new features related to groups on both the administrator and user side.
Fidji Simo, head of the Facebook application, said in a Newsroom post Thursday, “As we approach the 10-year anniversary of Facebook groups, we’re reminded how online communities can be a lifeline when people can’t be physically close. More than 1.8 billion people use groups every month, and there are tens of millions of active communities on Facebook where people come together to talk about their interests, learn new things, be entertained and make connections. We know groups need to be safe for everyone, so we’ve made changes to reduce harmful content and misinformation, too.”
Group admins can now use the Admin Assist tool to set rules that will guide Facebook in helping to moderate posts in the group, such as declining posts with certain keywords, or from people who haven’t been in the group long or have had posts reported in the past.
Admins can also organize content in their groups by hashtag and pin topics to the top of the group to highlight them for all members.
New ways to spark discussions and boost engagement within a group include chats that can be created and joined in real-time.
Prompts are a new type of collaborative post that enable users to share photos about a specific topic and swipe through everyone’s responses.
Admins can host text-based question-and-answer sessions that are easy for members to participate in.
And people can set custom profile photos for different groups they belong to, as well as customize their profiles to share information that is relevant to each community.
Facebook will also begin testing new ways for people to discover public groups on and off its platform.
Some users may begin seeing Related Discussions in News Feed when someone posts a link or reshared a post on the social network, enabling them to see what other groups are saying about the same content.
The groups tab will display posts from public groups that are related to people’s interests, as well as popular posts from public groups.
Simo added, “You may start to see conversations from public groups more outside of the Facebook app, like when you’re searching the web.”
Admins of public groups will have the option of whether or not to include their groups in this new experience, and they will be able to activate post approvals for their groups during the opt-in process, which will apply to existing members, new members and non-members.
Simo wrote, “From there, it’s easy to join the conversation without joining the group, as long as the community allows it. Admins still have control over their group settings, like who can post and comment without approval, and we’ll show people the group rules before they post so that community culture stays strong. The new Admin Assist feature also makes it easy to limit specific types of posts.”
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