Facebook said Wednesday that it is changing the way Groups work on the platform. They will no longer have the option of being marked as "secrets", giving users only two privacy settings: public or private.
Once the change is implemented, the groups that were once marked "secrets" will be labeled "private" and will only be visible to group members. Group administrators will have the option of having public or private groups and may also alternate if the group is visible in the search results.
"By separating the privacy settings of the publications and group membership from the group's general detection capability, it is easier for administrators to understand and manage the privacy settings of their group, and it is also easier for members to know important information like who can find the group. " Jordan Davis, product manager of Facebook Groups, said in a blog post on Wednesday.
The changes in Facebook groups that will be implemented this week are part of the "Safe Communities Initiative," which includes something that Facebook calls "proactive detection." According to a separate blog post on Wednesday, Tom Alison, vice president of engineering for Facebook, the company has created a new tool called Group Quality, which scans all groups for content that breaks the standards of the platform community, regardless of privacy settings.
"As the content is marked by our systems or informed by people, trained reviewers consider the context and determine whether the content violates our Community Standards," Alison said in the blog post. "Then we use these examples to train our technology to improve the search and removal of similar content."
Facebook groups have become a source of misinformation and radicalization in the last year. In March, BuzzFeed News discovered that small communities on the platform were flooded by spammers, hackers and trolls who exploit and kidnap groups to make money or sow chaos.