In a post-election move, Facebook has started putting “problematic” groups in a form of “probation” where admins are required to manually approve posts by members.
The move is yet another attempt by the social media company to censor what it perceives to be misleading information related to the presidential election.
The probation will apply to groups that supposedly allow too many posts that violate Facebook’s strict rules.
This is a rather impractical requirement, especially for large groups, as the probation period will last for 60 days, meaning that every post will have to be manually approved. Once implemented, probation cannot be appealed.
Groups put on probation will be closely monitored. Depending on how they handle the self-censorship, they will permanently be banned or the “probation” lifted after the lapse of the 60 days.
“We are temporarily requiring admins and moderators of some political and social groups in the U.S. to approve all posts if their group has a number of Community Standards violations from members,” said Facebook spokesperson Leonard Lam.
Admins of a popular group in Aberdeen City, Washington, were surprised with a notification telling them all posts would require their approval until January 4. The group has over 7k members who mostly discuss local events. It also has a policy prohibiting arguing over politics.
“At this point, we are wondering if we might close the group. The extra work and frustration is weighing heavy on us,” said one of the group’s admins.
While the measure makes admins responsible for the content shared on their groups, it is impractical for large groups. Some groups have hundreds of thousands of members with hundreds of posts daily.
This measure is one of the latest actions the social media company has taken in the past few days to curb the spread of accusations of election fraud. Others include banning hashtags related to accusations of election fraud and removing a group called “Stop the Steal” that had more than 360k members.