Facebook Groups that spread misinfo will now face probation and forced moderation
While the election may have now been called for Joe Biden, our misinformation nightmare is far from over.
As unsubstantiated pro-Trump conspiracies about election fraud continue to spread on the internet, Facebook is taking further action with Facebook Groups, a feature that is often weaponized by misinformation spreaders.
According to Facebook, the social networking company will now put certain problematic Facebook Groups in “probation” periods. During this 60-day timeframe, all posts to these groups must be manually approved by a group’s administrators or moderators.
A group will be placed in this probationary state if the company finds that many of its posts are violating its community standards policies. There will be no appeals process for the probation period. All groups, whether public or private, are subject to probation.
If policy violation problems continue to persist within these groups during the probationary period, Facebook will ban the group.
Facebook previously announced a version of this new Groups policy when it started to clean up Facebook Groups in September. The updated policy appears to include a longer probation period. The company had also started closing groups that no longer had moderators in place, and stopped recommending health-related groups in order to curb coronavirus misinformation.
Administrators and moderators already can control what content is shared in their Facebook Groups. However, content moderation is completely up to how the administrators and moderators want to run their groups. Previously, there were no consequences from Facebook for a poorly run group unless your group was full of dangerous threats or other outlandishly harmful claims, like what happened when Facebook removed QAnon groups.
Now, Facebook is placing the responsibility on those who run these groups: Keep them in line with the rules or we’ll remove them outright.