Facebook recently revamped their groups application and almost immediately there was an uproar from users complaining about being added to groups without their permission. Some of the complaints are quite valid while many of the concerns may be misguided. Here are some facts about new Facebook groups. Check here for more info about groups.
- It’s an opt out only system meaning any of your friends can add you to a group and you have to leave the group if you want out.
- Only your friends can add you to a group.
- Your profile privacy does not change. Members of the group who are your friends can see your profile, other members cannot see your profile except for your profile name and avatar. If you had extremely private settings blocking everything from the public, your avatar and screen name may now be revealed to strangers within the group. If you are extremely private about your profile, leave all groups you are added to and do not post any content into groups as they will be visible by other members of the group including strangers.
- Your group membership does not appear in your profile or wall but you being added to the group will appear in the group’s timeline.
- If you leave a group, you cannot be added back to that group by anyone but you can request to be added back to the group if you change your mind.
- Facebook groups work very similar to Model Mayhem’s list. Many will recall that when that was first rolled out, there was no option to opt out of being added to list. Neither Facebook groups nor Model Mayhem list require approval from the person being added.
What are some of the disadvantage of the new Facebook group?
- The opt out only scenario is subject to abuse. Within 24 hours of introduction, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was added to a fake group called NAMBLA which stands for North American Man/Boy Love Association.
- The default notification and email setting can easily overwhelm someone’s account if they are added to several groups. Every posts and added content will trigger a notification. To turn off notification/email, click Edit Settings from within the group. That can be a hassle if someone is added to dozens of groups. Currently, there is no global option to turn off notification for all groups.
- Group chat turns on the red notification blinker whenever someone post. The only way to turn it off is to go offline in chat. Closing the group chat will force it to pop open whenever someone post in chat. If you are a member of many groups with many group chats, the bottom of your page can light up like a Christmas tree.
- Since anyone can add any of their friends to groups and those added can then add their friends, a poorly administered group can easily turn into a spam engine with 3rd and 4th generation group members spamming the wall with unrelated posts. There is no feature to flag or dislike unwanted posts. Members of the group can unsubscribe to individual posts or leave the group. Administrators of the group can delete posts and remove or ban group members. Removed members can request to rejoin the group. Banned members will not be able to see the existence of the group.