Facebook Groups can either be a great place to learn in an online community — or a place to fill your newsfeed with spam. Now, Facebook is working to keep out the spammers by giving group administrators more tools to decide who they let in. A recent update, reported by Tech Crunch, now allows administers to ask potential group members questions to get a better idea of who they’re letting in.
Typically, screening new members is a time consuming process for administrators, requiring them to dig through the users profile or send a private message to determine if they fit the group’s goals. That often leads to administrators adding everyone who asks or denying potential members who didn’t have enough relevant information publicly available on their profiles.
The new feature, which has now fully rolled out to groups, allows the administrator to ask up to three questions. Potential group members need to answer those questions in 250 characters or less. The answers aren’t public, but are accessible only to administrators and moderators.
If administrators create group questions — accessible by heading to the group settings — those who ask to be added will see those questions right away. When a new user is invited by a group member, they need to access those questions by following a link.
Groups are designed to create online communities with similar interests, from location-based groups to those centered on a certain career or hobby and the new feature is designed to streamline the process of accepting new members. Groups was just one element that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressed earlier this year in a letter about building a global community, including safety and preventing the spread of fake news.
At the time, he said that over 100 million users were part of “very meaningful groups” from medical support groups to parenting and military communities, with over a billion actively involved in groups.
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