A Reddit thread on Wednesday called attention to many Facebook Groups’ privacy settings being changed to “secret.” The post generated more than 450 comments, with rumors that many Groups had been attacked by a spammer posting violating content that resulted in the Groups being removed by Facebook. Group admins were doing their best to avoid the issue to by switching their Group’s privacy settings to “secret.”

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Marketing Land that it had, in fact, mistakenly taken down a number of Facebook Groups, but was working to resolve the issue.

“We removed several Groups from Facebook after detecting content that violated our policies. We since discovered that this content was posted to sabotage legitimate, non-violating Groups. We’re working to restore any Groups affected and to prevent this from happening again,” said a Facebook spokesperson.

Why we should care

Any marketers who are managing a Group as part of their Facebook strategy need to review content within the Group to make sure it is clear of abusive or extremist content that violates Facebook’s community standards. This issue should also serve as a warning that Groups are just as susceptible to being hacked as any other owned platform and must be monitored accordingly.

With Facebook making Groups the “center” of its app, the platform offers marketers a powerful tool for organic engagement with their followers. But building membership numbers and a loyal following via a Group can take time and effort, and the last thing a brand wants to see happen is their Group removed by no fault of their own.

Even worse, a hacked Group that posts spammy, offensive content can do major damage to a brand’s reputation when Group members are served extremist or abusive content. Just like with any other aspect of managing your brand’s social channels, its crucial Group admins stay on top of the conversations happening within their Group.

More on the news

  • Facebook currently has tens of millions of active Groups on Facebook and more than 400 million uses that belong to a Group.
  • During this month’s F8 Developers Conference, Facebook introduced a new personalized activity feed within the Groups tab, along with a redesign of the tab to make it easier to find within the app. Facebook also launched a new discovery tool that recommended Groups based on a user’s interest.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told the F8, “Groups are at the heart of the experience,” and Facebook later confirmed users may start seeing more content from the Groups they belong to in their News Feed.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.



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