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Facebook Groups to gain suite of new tools for managing discussions, surfacing public content

Facebook is introducing a suite of new features for Facebook Groups, the private social networking product now used by over 1.8 billion people every month. At the company’s digitally hosted Facebook Communities Summit today, Facebook detailed a set of upcoming tools aimed at those who run Groups, which are designed help them better organize, filter and manage their communities, as well as new features focused on sparking discussions — like chats, prompts and Q&As. Notably, Facebook also said it would soon launch a test of a new feature that will highlight public group discussions to non-group members, including both on Facebook and off, via web searches.
The announcement comes at a time when Facebook Groups are making headlines for their growing use by those looking to spread harmful content and misinformation. Facebook this week said it removed over 6,500 militia groups and pages just last month alone, for example. Facebook Groups have also become the breeding grounds for a wide range of dangerous content, including health misinformation, anti-science movements, and baseless conspiracy theories that brainwash users into thinking there are secret signals hidden on the internet offering insight into an alternate reality that only they can see.
The new feature set for the Facebook Groups product itself, announced today, aren’t necessarily focused solving these sorts of issues, however. Instead, they’re largely about making Groups easier to manage and use, in a more general sense. But the forthcoming test of where group discussions can be found may have a broader impact.
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