- Facebook will let users know when Groups have broken the firm’s community standards.
- Facebook announced new rules to limit the power of groups spreading violence or misinformation.
- Users have reportedly used Facebook Groups to plan violent attacks, like the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
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Facebook announced new rules that limit the power of groups that spread violence or misinformation.
Facebook will begin telling users when a Group has violated the company’s Community Standards as they are about to join. The Community Standards prohibit violent, harmful, illegal, and deceptive posts from being shared on the site.
The firm will also stop recommending Groups that have violated Facebook’s standards will stop getting recommended to as many users, and reduce the distribution of the group’s content in users’ News Feeds. Facebook will block users who have repeatedly broken the rules from posting in all groups, inviting others to join, and create new groups.
The new rules build on Facebook’s decision in January to stop recommending civic and political groups to US users.
“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,” Facebook said in a release.
Facebook said it will roll out the new changes globally over the coming months.
Facebook’s change comes months after right-wing rioters used Groups to advocate for an insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6. BuzzFeed’s Ryan Mac identified a group called Red State Secession, whose members called for a “Second American Revolution” days before the riot.
Facebook reportedly knew members of political groups could get violent. The Wall Street Journal reviewed a letter by data scientists given to Facebook executives in August 2020 that stated the majority of political groups were home to misinformation, hate speech, and threats of violence.
Users warned Facebook of violence in a Kenosha Guard group hours before two people were shot and killed during a protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Four people attacked by right-wing militia members during the protest sued Facebook. The plaintiffs claimed that Facebook enabled the violence by hosting the page that encouraged militia members to take up arms against protesters.
Following the January 6 insurrection, Facebook stopped recommending political and civic groups to US users, and plans to roll out the policy globally. CEO Mark Zuckerberg told investors earlier this year the firm plans to minimize the role of politics on Facebook.
“One of the top pieces of feedback that we’re hearing from our community right now is that people don’t want politics and fighting to take over their experience on our services,” Zuckerberg said on an earnings call.
Facebook was not immediately available for additional comment.
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