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Facebook Groups: Reducing Risks

By J.Austine
Facebook Groups: Reducing Risks

Over the years, Facebook subscribers have grown immensely. A variety of groups has been formed on the platform to organize fan fiction, announce a political rally or course, and many more. Ideally, Facebook groups are not made for secure collaboration but to popularize Facebook. Primarily they are used to coordinate work that may be susceptible to sabotage by the government, Facebook users, and Facebook itself.

Facebook Groups: Reducing Risks

In the past days, Facebook has deleted large politically inclined groups without warning. And worse of all, the company has a reputation for changing privacy settings and policies without clear intentions. If your group is for serious or sensitive discussions, consider other sites or tools that prioritize security. But, if the audience is immovable from Facebook, that may not work. If you are the administrator, creating a group, or joining one, consider these tips to ensure you're safe when having sensitive discussions.

Choose the Group’s Privacy Settings

The first you have to clearly know purpose and goals of a group before creating it. Is the group meant to popularize a politician? Is it for discussing controversial topics? Will the members want their membership to be confidential? These are some of the considerations that help you determine the best privacy setting and privacy needs.
You can identify which group you want at the time of creation. Facebook offers private and public options with detailed explanations for each of them. Besides, choose if you wish it  "hidden in search" or "visible in search" this will make it easy to know if someone will search for it in the future.
If you're an existing group, consider adjusting the privacy settings. All group administrators can change settings; however, for a group with over 5,000 members, the settings offer more restrictive options where you can move it from public to private to protect group members. When administrator opts for a more restrictive setting, they have up to 24 hours to have it changed back before the group is locked. And all members will receive a notification about the changed settings.
Regardless of the setting, Facebook can access all content on its platform. It may be served with a legal order to give information to the law enforcement agency or takedown information altogether. Besides, you can flag content or report content inside a group if it violates the community standards, and the perpetrator may receive a temporary ban for violating content.

Establish Group Rules

One thing that defines the code and conduct of group members is rules. Even though it's a tall order in Facebook groups, you should consider having them in place for security purposes. The rules will help define the interest of the group, conversations that are putting the group's goals into focus, and many more.  For instance, a group administrator may state that taking screenshots is illegal to bar members from competing in taking discussions screenshot and sharing them publicly. Culprits of the same vice may be banned from the group for a certain period or expelled from the group as a protection measure. You can think through other group privacy and security priorities to have the right guidelines for your group.
Besides having the rules, members should know that they are also governed by Facebook Community Standards and Terms of Use.

Know the Group Admins and Moderators

Group admins and moderators have some power in a group setting. They can change the setting and control group membership.  Besides, an administrator can appoint another admin or remove the existing ones or change the settings.
A moderator can only manage content and group membership without changing the settings. A group may have multiple admins and moderators for easy management of the group, and each of them needs to know their respective roles. Besides, at least one admin should comply with the Facebook policy to use their real names.

Facebook Groups Vs. Pages

Many people often think that Facebook groups are the same as pages. But, it isn't the same. Facebook pages are used to publicly represent a business, brand, public figure, and organization. The groups, on the other hand, aren't public for viewing by any Facebook user.
If you opt for a Facebook page, know that it’s a public space where even people without Facebook accounts can have access to them. According to Facebook, it reiterates that "Pages you like are listed in the About section of your profile below Likes. A post that you liked on a Page may appear in News Feed. You may be displayed on the Page you liked or in ads about that Page."

Facebook Policy on Authentic Names and Administrator Anonymity

Facebook doesn't give room for the use of pseudonyms. Users must use authentic identities, the names they use in their day-to-day errands, and be acknowledged by family and friends. This also strikes on the administrators and moderators. Though they can want to protect their identities, an admin using pseudonyms can be reported and suspended for violating the authentic identity policy in Facebook.

Blocking Unwelcomed Users on Facebook

There may exist reasons as to why some people shouldn't eavesdrop on your group conversation. It can be because of the attackers' mission or a hacker looking for potential targets to drag into their mission. If they manage to join your group, the admin can remove or block them from the group. Remember, when blocked, the group will not be visible, plus its content to person.

What Happens to Content Deleted On Facebook?

Facebook has the right to delete groups and content that violates its service terms. If this happens, a group will lose all its messages and group members' discussions, and there are high chances of not bein in a position to recover your member list. It implies that once the group is deleted, you cannot re-connect with the previous members unless you have a separate track of the member's names.
On removal requests, it's not clear at all because Facebook gets directives from law enforcers, the government, and other individuals that are politically inclined to remove some group. Often the requests come from countries where free expression and association rights are not honored.
It can also be a deliberate move to delete a group. The creator can start by removing all members and leave later, which is a permanent action and can never be reversed. If an admin didn't create the group, they can't delete it unless the group creator left before them. You can also archive a group and later unarchive it when needed for use. Additional information about deleting Facebook is present at Facebook's data policy for access when you need it.

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