This week, Facebook has been notifying some group admins that they need to be more active in moderating their groups, or Facebook will assign another group member to the job instead.
As you can see in this notification, shared by social media expert Matt Navarra, Facebook’s warning says that admins either need to be more attentive, or it’ll find someone else, within a week.
Which is unlikely to go down well with group managers.
It also seems to be a marked shift in approach, as Meta’s listed policy currently states that:
“If a group has no admins, Facebook may suggest that some members become an admin based on many signals. Signals include their current level of participation and whether they are an admin of any other Facebook groups. Facebook may also archive the group if there are no admins for a while.”
It’ll put the group on ice if no admin is present, but there’s no mention of automatically adding a replacement. Maybe, then, the issues at Reddit have prompted Meta to change its approach in this respect.
After Reddit’s decision to up the price of its API access, among other controversial changes at the app, various subreddit moderators took part in protest action, which effectively saw them locking their communities, via various means.
That’s a problem for Reddit management, because any subreddits that are removed from public access immediately become ineligible for ads, which reduces the platform’s capacity to maximize its opportunities via relevant ad placement.
In order to counter this, Reddit itself began taking over moderation duties of some subreddits, while it also updated its rules to make it easier to do such in future, if volunteer mods fail to adhere to platform rules.
That’s set to have a big impact on the Reddit community, with moderators being told, in effect, that they can be replaced as Reddit chooses, relative to its own business interests.
Meta too offers ad options for groups, and maybe the Reddit situation shined a light on its own concerns on this front, which could theoretically see some massive groups in the app shut down, if moderators move on, or simply stop being active.
Rather than lose that engagement, and the related ad opportunities, Meta seems to be revising its enforcement action, which will likely spook current admins, who’ll lose a level of power and control as a result.
I mean, it’d be pretty annoying to go on holiday and come back to find that the group that you spent years building is now under the control of that annoying guy who was always hassling you for more action on his requests.
That’s not an ideal way to ingratiate yourself with your volunteer community managers, though it would only relate to communities that haven’t seen any admin activity over time, which, you would assume, is in the minority.
There would also likely be group size parameters for such action. My Friday Night Basketball group, with six members, is probably not at risk of being taken over, but maybe Meta has a member count threshold to qualify for these new notifications.
It makes sense that Meta wouldn’t want to lose these groups, though it does seem like a better solution than auto-adding admins could have been found.
Then again, maybe not. Maybe Meta’s tried the same notification without the threat of auto-adding someone else, and nobody paid much attention, prompting this next step.
Either way, it’s worth noting, especially in the broader context of online groups, and how the platforms may now be looking to ensure that they don’t simply lose big engagement communities based on admin activity.