Facebook to Simplify Privacy Settings for Groups

Privacy settings for Facebook Groups are changing to make things simpler, the company announced on Wednesday.

According to a new press release from the social media giant, public, closed and secret group settings will either be just public or private from now on. The administrators of groups will have the option to make the group visible to other users or hidden. The change is for “clarity,” said Facebook’s product manager for Facebook groups, Jordan Davis.

“Having two privacy settings — public and private — will help make it clearer about who can find the group and see the members and posts that are part of it,” explains Davis. “We’ve also heard that most people prefer to use the terms ‘public’ and ‘private’ to describe the privacy settings of groups they belong to.”

Basically, anyone on Facebook can see who belongs to public groups and content that is shared in those groups. For private groups, only members can see who belongs and what they have posted.

By default, groups that had been secret will now be private and hidden, and groups that were closed will now be private and visible. Public groups will remain public and visible.

Facebook says that it’s worked with “global privacy experts and advocates” in order to ensure that these new privacy settings are both easier to understand and apply in practice.

“With two clear options, this new privacy model is much more intuitive,” explains Davis. “Public groups allow anyone to see who’s in the group and everything that’s shared there. With private groups, only members can see who else is in the group and what they’ve posted.”

The change seems to be in line with CEO Mark Zuckerberg‘s plans, which he outlined during the company’s most recent F8 developer conference, where he positioned private groups as a big part of Facebook’s strategy going forward.

Unfortunately, while this helps people differentiate public groups from private ones more efficiently and with less confusion, it still doesn’t address the pervasiveness of hate groups on the platform.