New Public Groups Experience

Facebook’s New Public Groups Experience – Know About All The Latest Updates And Tools

It’s been over a decade since Facebook groups first started, and all this while, they have helped connect like-minded individuals from all over the world.

Today, more than 1.8 billion people use Facebook groups every month.

People rely on Private groups (closed groups where you need to become a member to see and engage with the content posted in it) to build meaningful connections, seek valuable suggestions, and share their experiences.

And they turn to Public Facebook groups (open groups where anyone – who is on Facebook but not a member of the group can easily find the group upon searching, and engage with and share the content) for more open discussions on various topics.

By now, we know that communities are at the core of Facebook’s experience. Which is why the social media giant keeps introducing new features every now and then for a better user and admin experience.

This time, they rolled out a whole new Public groups experience on June 11, 2021. 

As a part of it, Facebook has brought about some new changes in public groups, and launched 2 super useful tools like Admin Assist and Participant Approval.

Facebook says, “Our goal is to grow diverse perspectives and increase authentic conversations across Public Groups, while giving admins powerful new tools to keep their groups safe and the quality of conversations high.”

These new changes introduced in public groups have been doing the rounds ever since Facebook released the beta version of the experience.

And, there’s a lot of chatter around it.

So, I decided to create this comprehensive guide explaining all about:

So, without further ado, let’s dive right into the information.

Benefits of the new public groups experience on Facebook 

“With public groups, you can create a resource for your members to gather information, engage with new voices, and broadly share the resource with others,” says Ankit Shah, Strategic Product Partnerships Manager at Facebook.

Some of the other advantages that the new public groups offer are:

1. Ease of discovering and growing your group

In the words of Facebook:

“People will be able to discover and benefit from content in Public Groups in more places over time, both on and off Facebook. This includes showing related discussions from Public Groups on News Feed on Facebook, when someone posts a link or shares a post. It also includes popular posts from Public Groups in the Groups tab. People will also continue to be able to read Public Group content even when logged out of Facebook.”

2. Allowing people to join with a single click, or participating without being a member

“This enables people to easily get updates and stay connected with communities they want to join. Admins still have control over who can post and comment with new admin tools.”

3. Increasing valuable engagement in your group

4. Inviting additional perspectives

5. Encouraging a diverse and open dialogue

6. Fostering new connections

7. Creating a resource and sharing broadly

The latest changes introduced in Public Facebook groups 

While the new experience has been rolled out for public groups on Facebook and brings in some exciting features, there are a few changes made to the existing ones.

All of these were brought to my notice by the power admins of our Facebook group who had opted for the beta version of this new public groups experience.

  • Admins can no longer create a welcome post by automatically tagging new members
  • Admins cannot send ‘Join Request/Invitation in group’ to the participants of the group
  • Your group will no longer have chats and Messenger rooms if they were available previously
  • All existing rooms and chats will not be accessible anymore

All about the new Facebook features for Public Groups

As already mentioned, the new public groups experience comes with a set of 2 powerful moderation tools, i.e. Participant Approval and Admin Assist.

Aditya Ahluwalia, the Director of Growth at Convosight says:

“These features will give public Facebook groups greater reach, more active participation, and broader membership, alongside giving admins time to focus on creating higher quality content and drive better discussions. Apart from that, these will help increase the number of people participating and grow diverse conversations.” 

PARTICIPANT APPROVAL

The new participant approval feature allows you to control who can post and comment in your group.

It’s pretty similar to the traditional membership approval feature, except this feature enables you to review first time contributors with participation questions to support the process.

Meaning, with participant approval turned on, anyone (whether a visitor/non-member or a member) who wants to post or comment in the group for the first time, must request to participate. Once they do, they will have to answer a set of participation questions you’ve added.

participant approval in New Public Groups Experience

                                                                                         Source: Facebook

“Focusing approvals on first time contributors rather than all members reduces the number of people that you need to review, while still keeping the quality of conversations high,” tells Facebook.

Head over to the admin tools to view participant profiles, their responses to the participation questions, and if they have submitted any posts for review.

Once approved, participants will be able to engage with group posts and comment on them, with respect to your group’s moderation settings.

When you approve the participant, you approve them and the initial post that they wish to share.

If you have post approvals turned on, all the future posts of these approved participants will be available under Post Approvals or Admin Assist. (More on this tool below)

NOTE – The members you admitted in the group before switching to the new public groups experience, won’t have to request to participate in the group.
New members are able to join without admin approval, but they’ll need to be approved the first time they want to contribute to the group.

3 Benefits of Participant Approval

  • Greater control over the group as you can vet people who are posting or commenting for the first time.
  • Helps reduce spam as you can look into the legitimacy of the participants before approving them to post.
  • Increases efficiency and saves time because you are reviewing participants who want to indulge in the group discussions. So, instead of everyone, there are fewer people to review.

Getting Started with Participant Approval 

Go to your Facebook group settings and turn on Participant Approval. You can easily turn this feature on or off anytime.

Participant Approval in new public facebook group expericenc

Reiterating the fact that – Members you approve before shifting to the new public groups experience will be approved participants. This means you won’t have to review them the second time. They can easily post as per your group’s moderation settings.

Managing Participant Approval

First, set up participation questions. From the admin tools, you will see the option to add them. You can choose to/not to.

participation questions in New Public Groups Experience

You can also include group rules and ask pending participants to agree to them.

Checking and filtering participation requests

a. Within admin tools, click and open your participant requests

filtering participation requests in new facebook public group update

b. Next, choose how to filter the requests. You can do that on the basis of those who have filled out the participation questions, their profile type, location, whether they have friends in the group or mutual friends with you on Facebook, or how long ago they requested.

filters in New Public Groups Experience

c. You can vet each request by reviewing the participant’s profile and their answers to the questions.
If they have requested to post, you will also be able to preview their pending post they submitted as well.

Preview Post in New Public Groups Feature

Preview Post in New Public Groups Experience

d. For each request, you can approve, decline, or choose from additional options.

approve decline post

When you approve, the person will be able to post and comment in the group depending on your group’s moderation settings. If they have a pending post, it will also be approved.

When you decline, it rejects the person’s request to post or comment in the group, and any pending posts if they have. However, they can request to participate again the next time.

You can also choose from the additional options via the three dot menu:

  • Approve participant but decline post (along with feedback)
  • Decline participant and temporarily mute them for a period of time
  • Decline request and block them altogether which means they can never request again or see the group.

Things to keep in mind when using Participation Approval

  • Participation Approval works in tandem with other moderation tools you may already be using. If post approval is turned on, posts will still need to be approved individually even after the participant is approved. If Admin Assist is turned on, all posts and authors will be subject to your automatic moderation settings.
  • Comments from approved participants will be subject to tools like Keyword Alerts
  • You can undo any action from your activity log. Any request you undo will appear under participant requests for you to review.

What do Admins think of Participant Approval?

Soon after the admins got the beta version of the new public groups experience in their Facebook groups, they shared their opinions about it with fellow admins in our Facebook group.

Have a look at a few discussions below.

participation approval review in new public group changes

Updated public groups experience

New Public Groups Experience On Facebook

From the above snapshots, we can deduce that:

  • Although Facebook has released tools like Participant approval for its public groups, admins are struggling to prevent their communities from spam.
  • Admins feel that their communities have become spam central because anyone can join them. Icing on the cake here is greater reach of public groups. This makes it challenging for admins with groups that are audience specific.
    Meaning, if an admin has a female-only or male-only group, or if an admin has a public group that has members only of a particular region, they have to spend a lot of time moderating the group as people from all over are joining the group, thereby killing its objective.

ADMIN ASSIST

To make admins’ lives simpler, Facebook came up with this super cool feature called Admin Assist for Facebook groups a few months back. It helps automate some of the admin’s everyday tasks, making things better for them.

With admin assist, you can set up a specific criteria and let Facebook take automatic action on participants and pending or publishing content in your group. You can also review and undo actions if required from the admin activity log.

Manage Admin Assist

Administrators work together with existing moderation features like post approvals, keyword alerts, as well as the new participant approvals. This gives you control over the quality of content that gets posted and lets you control who posts in the group.

NOTE – Initially, admin assist was rolled out for Public Groups, however, now private Facebook groups have this feature too.

a. Managing Participation

  • You can restrict people who don’t qualify based on a range of options. For instance, you can set up a criteria where FB will decline all posts from a fake account. The criteria will include posts from people who do not have a profile picture, or from those who have not used their FB profile for over a month.
  • You can choose to restrict or block someone from posting if they don’t meet your criteria. Admin Assist lets you choose a time period for which you want to stop someone from posting something.

b. Managing Content 

  • You can decline posts with links with feedback for the author.
  • You can reduce low-quality content after it’s been published. Admin Assist can help in deleting posts that have been reported a number of times.
  • You can reduce conflicts by turning off commenting on published posts based on how many times a post has been reported or the number of posts done in the past hour.

“It’s easy to get started with our sets of suggested criteria that you can add, based on what you’re trying to accomplish — such as preventing spam and promotional content — and then customize,” tells Facebook.

Check out this article to know how to get started with Admin Assist👇🏻

All about Admin Assist for Facebook groups

Changing to the new public groups experience – Things to know 

The new public groups experience with bug fixes and new features was rolled out for all the public groups on Facebook on June 11, 2021.

Meaning, all the public groups on the social network have it in place already.

Before June 11, it was available only for those groups who had agreed to use its beta version after they received a notification for it. Since then, there has not been any going back to the previous version for these admins.

The Final Word 

The new public groups experience comes loaded with some extremely awesome features that are bound to make admins’ lives easier.

Most of all, the admins can now stop spending their precious time on preventing scamsters from entering the community. Rather focus on creating quality content and interacting with the community.

If you have a public group, you must have witnessed the changes already. And I suggest you try them out today.

Folks with private Facebook groups can soak in all this valuable information for the time they decide to create a public Facebook group.

If you are a new admin and struggling to decide whether you should keep your Facebook group public or private, refer to this blog👇🏻 where I have explained what a public and private group is, pros and cons of each group setting, and given you legit reasons to choose either of them.

Public Vs Private Facebook Group: Which One To Choose?

There’s one thing you should remember: You can change a public FB group to private anytime you like, but you cannot switch to public when your group setting is private.

So, tell me in the comments below if you liked the new public groups experience and if it has worked in your favour. You can also write to me in our Facebook group.🙌🏻

Feel free to share your concern if any and I’ll be happy to address them.🙂

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