Facebook announced today, Thursday, a set of new features for groups, including: New prompts for recommendations that may prompt more users to discover and join them.
Under the new change, Facebook will recommend public groups to users while scrolling through “Latest News” posts or opening the tab for the groups they have joined. The new recommendations come even with recent criticism that Facebook’s existing group recommendation algorithms identify users with extremist views such as white supremacy and anti-Semitism.
It is noteworthy that groups have become a more important part of Facebook’s business over the past few years. And when users join a group, they see material from other group members on their “latest news” page, along with the usual posts from their Facebook friends. These groups often focus on common interests, such as hobbies or political views, that can increase user engagement.
The company said today, Thursday: There are now 1.8 billion users on Facebook who use groups each month, up from 1.4 billion in May 2018. But groups have also been criticized for spreading misleading information or calls to take harmful action, which could spread rapidly. Among like-minded people, while being hidden from non-group members.
And last September, the company announced that it would no longer recommend health kits to users, saying, “It is imperative that people obtain their health information from reliable sources.” In August, the company launched a new policy banning groups that focus on militias or support violence.
To prevent the new features from causing more harm, Facebook will not recommend any groups with misleading information, and will rely on a team of human coordinators to monitor the content that is included in the recommendations, according to (Tom Allison), vice president of engineering for the Facebook app.
Alison said For CNBC: “All the work we do on integrating recommendations and preventing misinformation or other types of content that we do not want to recommend will be applied to these new features.”