Source: freepik.com

With over 3.6 billion people being active on social media (which makes up for almost half the globe’s population), it comes as no surprise that social media giants are practically ruling the world. People are spending more time on social media platforms than ever before, so practically our lives revolve around clicks, likes and scrolls on social media accounts.

Hardly a day goes by without hearing about a major social media platform in the news, whether it’s because of privacy issues, an important merge, brand new features, changes to the platforms or any other topic worthy of public attention. This time the protagonist is once again the network that seems to shine brighter than all the rest, Facebook. But it’s not a scandal that’s bringing the social media giant in the news. It’s the new measures that the company intends to implement in order to reduce rule violations in private and public groups.

Facebook announced it’s going to make significant changes to regulations concerning groups, whether they’re private or public, with the purpose of limiting the spread of harmful or misleading content across the platform.

Back in September, right before the presidential election in the US, Facebook decided to limit the reach of civic and political groups, as well as newly created groups, by removing them from group recommendations. New members could still be added to the group and people could still search for them, but their visibility was significantly reduced. Facebook’s intention was to avoid the spread of divisive content and fake information that could influence users negatively.

New rules, harsher consequences

Source: freepik.com

Facebook now wants to take things one step further and adopt even harsher measures to keep group interactions in check. there will be major changes to group regulations and that also implies more serious consequences for users who don’t respect Facebook’s guidelines.

It’s a well-known fact that the measures Facebook adopted were not always met with positive reactions. Facebook’s ban on Australian news organizations is the latest example in a long row of criticized measures the social media giant imposed over the years. But this time, most users seem to welcome the changes. Know more about this news on techshielder.com.

Tom Alison, vice president of engineering at Facebook, wrote in a blog post that the company acknowledges the need for further actions, as people’s interactions on the platform evolve. He stated that the company is embracing an approach they have already been using in their news feed, where lower-quality content is shown further down. Similarly, they’ll place groups that violate regulations lower on the recommendation list.

The idea behind these measures is that these groups and their members shouldn’t enjoy the same privileges as those who play by the rules. And as the violations become more severe, so will the consequences.

Source: freepik.com
Source: freepik.com

For starters, group members who break Facebook’s rules repeatedly will be banned from posting or commenting in any group for a certain period of time. This period could extend from seven to thirty days, depending on how many violations the person has accumulated and their severity. Apart from that, these users won’t be able to invite any of their friends to a group or create new ones until the restriction ends.

Another important measure Facebook will introduce is group labelling. Groups that accumulate a certain number of violations will have a warning label. That way, when someone wants to join one of these groups, they’ll receive a notification letting them know the group didn’t follow community standards. This will make it less likely for new users to join these groups, so they’ll lose many potential members.

Existing members will also be affected by these restrictions. Facebook plans to limit the distribution of the group’s content, so it will be shown lower in the news feed. This will impact their reach and reduce interactions with other Facebook users.

But restrictions and penalties don’t stop here. Facebook has some new rules targeting group admins as well. If a group has a large number of members who violated community guidelines, the group’s admins and moderators will be asked to review and approve temporarily each and every post before being shared with the public. If the admins and moderators refuse to comply and approve all posts, including those that contain misinformation or harmful content, the entire group risks being removed from the platform.

Improvements were long overdue

Source: freepik.com

Facebook hopes that the new measures will be successful in persuading groups and their members to follow the regulations and steer clear from posting any type of content that might result in penalties. If up till now the social media giant had less harsh penalties for those who violated the rules, the need for change became more and more obvious as the platform faced criticism for ignoring important issues regarding users’ behaviour.

People realised that some interactions on social media networks lead to real-life events and had a powerful influence on public opinion, so there had to be a way to limit the spread of harmful content and hateful speech. Supporters of dangerous movements used the platform to spread their message and get people to join them and take part in their activities. Facebook felt the need to step in and take action in a time when misinformation, fake news and extremist behaviour were on the rise on its pages. That’s where the whole idea to improve group regulations stemmed from.

In the end, Facebook decided to come up with a new set of rules that will take things in the right direction. Although Facebook acknowledges these new measures won’t put an end to all problems, it’s a good step forward that will help improve people’s experience on the platform. And who’s to say these are the only measures Facebook has in store for its users. If we were to judge by the company’s latest actions, we would say they have great plans for the future.

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