Facebook is pushing groups further into the spotlight, while also introducing new tools to help tamp down unsavory content.
Groups have emerged as a key source of engagement and core part of the platform. But they’ve also come under fire for driving polarization and extremism, as well as for pushing people toward bogus medical cures.
More than half of Facebook’s global users are members of five or more active groups and more than 1.8 billion people connect with groups each month, according to the company.
At Facebook’s annual conference for group administrators on Thursday — which was virtual this year due to the pandemic — the company outlined several updates, including changes that make it easier for people to find new groups and content from groups.
Facebook’s biggest update is bringing groups to the forefront: In the coming months, the company will begin testing ways for more people to discover public groups in their News Feed or even off Facebook while searching the web.
For example, when a link or post about a popular TV show or sports event appears on the News Feed, users might see what other public groups they’re not in are saying about the posts, a feature Facebook is calling Related Discussions. Users can also chime in on the discussion even if they don’t join the group — if the group admin allows it.
Facebook wouldn’t explicitly say if political posts from public groups would be recommended, but said topics would include entertainment, lifestyle, sports, consumer and human interest news, major cultural moments and holidays.
Administrators will have to opt-in to include their public groups in this feature.
Meanwhile under the groups tab, users will now see recommended content from public groups they’re not part of, based on what’s popular and their