Facebook is now letting creators of Groups screen potential group members by issuing a three-question quiz, part of a larger effort by Facebook to dole out more tools to Group Admins and filter out potential abusers or trolls from private Groups.
The new feature rollout for Groups was reported earlier today by TechCrunch. It lives within the Group settings, where Group Admins can opt to “Ask Pending Members Questions” and create up to three questions that will be presented to people requesting to join the Group. As TechCrunch points out, only admins and moderators can see the answers to the questions.
Based on our experiments so far, it seems as though admins from “Open” and “Closed” groups have the option, but admins of a “Secret” group don’t. Presumably, if you’re maintaining a secret group, you’re already screening members; but we’ve reached out to Facebook to verify that’s how the questionnaire will work. Update: A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed that group questions are only available to Public and Closed groups, not Secret groups.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg first alluded to upcoming changes in Group administrative tools in a multi-thousand-word manifesto he shared back in February. “Today, Facebook's tools for group admins are relatively simple,” Zuckerberg wrote then. “We plan to build more tools to empower community leaders like Monis [Bukhari, a man in Berlin running a refugee support group] to run and grow their groups the way they'd like, similar to what we've done with Pages.”
Zuckerberg also said at the time that Facebook plans to “expand groups to support sub-communities,” suggesting that even more changes are in the works.
As Facebook has ballooned into a social network with nearly 2 billion users, it’s had to face some hard realities about the influence it has on society, whether related to the sharing of “fake news,” the potential swaying of election results, or the distribution of violent videos on its site. And as almost everyone who uses Facebook is aware, it’s both a magical tool for connecting people around the world and one where abusive content can live and fester — and Groups are no exception.
The quizzes appear to be just the first step in keeping potential unwelcome members out of a Group. The bigger question is how many controls Facebook will give to admins to keep bad actors out while maintaining a sense of community, a word that Zuckerberg used a mere 82 times in his manifesto.