According to Reuters – Facebook has announced on Wednesday that it would begin removing suggestions for political and social problem Facebook groups from its global users, a step it claims would reduce friction on the site.
In a blog post, the company also revealed improvements aimed at limiting the influence of groups that breach site policies, such as ranking them lower in algorithmic recommendations and alerting users when they try to join a community that has previously broken policies.
Tom Alison, Facebook’s vice president of engineering, said in an interview on Tuesday that the company was investing heavily in groups.
He said that the improvements to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s political and civic group suggestions, which he revealed on an earnings call in January, were due to users’ desire to see less political content.
“They want us to turn down the temperature a little bit,” said Alison
He clarified that newly formed groups on every subject would have to wait 21 days before being considered for recommendation in order for Facebook to get a better understanding of how they would work.
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Facebook has prioritized groups since 2017, and Zuckerberg sees the feature as a way to promote “meaningful connections”. It increased community promotion in news feeds and search engine results last year.
During the coronavirus pandemic, however, Facebook stopped recommending health groups to users, citing the need for credible information sources. In recent months, it has also repressed those groups as part of legislative reforms aimed at reducing “militarised social movements”.
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On Wednesday, Facebook announced that community moderators would be required to temporarily approve posts for groups with a “substantial” number of rule-breaking members or members who were previously suspended for rule violations.
It also stated that the content of rule-breaking groups would appear lower in members’ news feeds, and that repeat rule-breakers would be temporarily barred from posting or creating new groups.
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Alison from Facebook did not specify what guidelines would be used to decide whether a rule-breaking group or its members would be kicked off the site.