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Facebook introduces new censorship and punishment measures for groups and their members

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Facebook has announced new rules surrounding groups, including putting members who repeatedly violate its policies on probation and limiting the reach of “problematic” groups. The rules are part of the platform’s continued efforts to tackle “misinformation” and harmful content.

The group feature on Facebook allows people with common interests to come together and discuss issues. However, left to their own devices, Facebook suggests that groups have become one of the greatest tools in spreading “misinformation” and so it wants to get involved in policing what people talk about.

Group members have common interests; therefore no one is going to flag content bringing it to the attention of Facebook’s content moderators.

However, in the recent past, Facebook has implemented various measures to prevent the spread of what it decided is misinformation through groups. And today, at the behest of Democratic lawmakers, they announced new rules that will affect groups and members who repeatedly violate its policies.

Groups with multiple violations will come with a disclaimer label, informing interested users that the group has repeatedly violated community standards. Facebook hopes the label might discourage users from joining such groups.

Facebook will also limit the reach of some groups. The distribution of the groups content will be reduced for existing members, meaning content will appear less often and much lower in the News Feed. The platform will also limit the invite notifications of such groups.

Initially, members who repeatedly violated policies were banned from commenting or creating posts in any groups for a given period. Now, Facebook has specified the ban period, which will be either a week or 30 days, depending on the severity and number of violations. Additionally, they will not be allowed to create new groups or invite other users to any group.

The admins and moderators of groups with repeat violations will have to approve all posts. And, if they approve posts with content that violates policies, the entire group will be removed.

Testifying before Congress last October, Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook would stop recommending political groups to users.

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