Facebook has been putting increased emphasis on groups of late, with The Social Network seeing them as a way to keep users more engaged, while also enabling a level of user moderation, lessening the load for Facebook’s internal moderation team.
The approach is similar to how Reddit operates – on Reddit, each community (or subreddit) is moderated by volunteer moderators, which arguably enables Reddit to provide a more user-friendly, content-rich experience than Facebook has been able to do through algorithms.
It’s likely that Facebook sees groups as a similar opportunity – but in order to boost user participation, they need to push groups to the fore, and empower group admins to best manage their communities.
On the former, Facebook announced at their recent F8 conference that a new Groups tab will soon be available within the main app.
On the latter, Facebook’s been rolling out new tools to give group admins more control and presentation options – including a new update this week, which will add even more measures.
First off, Facebook’s giving group admins the ability to pre-approve members to post, so they don’t have to moderate every update.
Moderation, especially in larger groups, can take up a lot of time, and being able to greenlight certain users will lessen the management load.
Facebook’s also giving admins more capacity to control rule violations and keep community members informed:
“When admins or moderators remove a post that violates the rules of their community, they can now notify the member with details on which group rule they broke. Admins and moderators will also be able to collaborate by adding notes in their admin activity log when they remove a post.”
And maybe the most important update, Facebook's also giving group admins access to new admin-specific support:
“…a dedicated place for admins to report an issue or ask a question and get a response from Facebook. We aim to respond within one business day."
That’s big, because as anyone who’s ever tried to report anything to Facebook knows, getting actual feedback is tough. The addition underlines how much the company is keen to push group engagement.
And finally, Facebook’s also adding a new groups information resource:
“To help admins learn how to keep their communities safe and engaged, we’ve created an online learning destination. It includes tutorials, product demos, and case studies – all drawn from the experience and expertise of other admins – that can be found on facebook.com/community.”
Facebook’s been working for a long time on improving content discovery, and boosting engagement by surfacing more relevant posts within News Feeds. Through groups, Facebook's looking to do the same, though via human moderation, which, as noted, can produce better, more engaging results.
More than 1.4 billion people use Facebook groups every month, and with groups also getting higher priority in the News Feed algorithm, following the announced re-focus, in addition to the coming groups tab, it’s definitely worth considering their potential – for both personal and professional use.