Facebook wants to nudge you into 'meaningful' online groups

James Marshall
June 23, 2017

Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is taking another step toward defining a new vision for the social-media company as it grapples with its growing power in the world. He added that, "Change starts local, when enough of us feel a sense of objective and support in our own lives that we can start caring about broader issues too". Some 300 administrators from different parts of the world came together on Thursday, June 22nd in The Revel Fulton Market in Chicago, where Zuckerberg announced all the possibilities at hand now for them on Facebook.

Facebook executives have been contemplating the company's mission while dealing with several controversies, from criticism over its perceived role in spreading misinformation during the US presidential election to its handling of violent live videos posted on the social network.

Along with the updated mission for the company, Facebook announced some new features aimed at making things easier for Facebook Group administrators.

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It could also help Facebook tee up some new advertising opportunities. In other words, anyone in the world could see it.

Hispanics have made Facebook a part of their community: 26.7 million Latinos in the US are connected via Facebook. Managing privacy became such a chore that Facebook users began posting less and less, and the network had to roll out features like privacy audits, and even a one-click solution buried in the settings that let a user make all of their years of posting accessible to friends only. He explained "most people don't seek out communities in the physical world or online".

Striving to get people more involved in groups could possibly exacerbate the problem. No wonder people have moved to Instagram and Snapchat, which are much more efficient ways to find out what your actual friends are up to (and stoke jealousy). The company has been so obsessed with bringing more people onto the app, that it tried building drones to spread the Internet to the far corners of Earth. It has also highlighted the idea of productive and tradition groups and has also started an addiction support group to help people deal with drug and alcohol addiction.

The focus on groups as a positive tool with the power to change the world overlooks how people use them for negative causes. Only about 5 percent were members of such groups, he said then. That's why you never see posts from Pantsuit Nation appear in your News Feed - members can't share them with anyone not in the group.

The company is using artificial intelligence to recommend more of these types of groups. There are large Facebook communities for White Nationalist organizations and other hate groups.

In this Wednesday, June 21, 2017, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks at the Facebook Communities Summit, in Chicago, in advance of an announcement of a new Facebook initiative created to spur people to form more meaningful communities with Facebook's groups feature. The biggest, open groups will seem akin to subreddits, the smaller ones like an intimate email LISTSERV. In general, Facebook's posting guidelines are as permissive as legally possible.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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