Everything You Need to Know About Facebook Groups

You can use a Facebook group like a private room

A Facebook Group is a place for group communication, letting people share their common interests and express their opinions. Groups let people come together around a common cause, issue, or activity to organize, express objectives, discuss issues, post photos, and share related content. Anybody can create and manage a Facebook Group, and you can even join up to 6,000 other Groups.

Groups, as discussed below, are not the same as private group messaging used in Facebook Messenger.

Person checking their Facebook groups

Quick Facts About Facebook Groups

Here are some short tidbits on how Facebook Groups work:

  • Any Facebook user can make a group.
  • Some groups let anyone join, but others might be private.
  • When joining a group, whether private or public, your Facebook friends might see that you've joined it.
  • Some groups are secret and can't be searched for, in which case a qualifying group member has to invite you.
  • Leaving a group will not notify the other members.
  • Only the creator of the group, and anyone they make an admin, has the power to invite someone to a group.
  • You can create events, upload pictures and videos, and share files within a group.
  • Groups can be deleted by removing all the members.
  • Group admins can invite people to become Group Experts; experts have a badge next to their name and can help spread credible information to the group.

Facebook Pages vs. Groups

Groups on Facebook have undergone changes since they were first implemented. There was a time when a user's groups would appear on their own personal page. So, if you were in a group called “Football Fans,” everyone who could see your profile would know this about you.

Now, however, those types of open forums are known as Facebook Pages, created by companies, celebrities, and brands to engage with their audience and post interesting content. Only administrators of Pages can post to the account, while those who like the Page can comment on any posts and pictures.

You use your personal profile to engage with other Page users and group members. Whenever you post something, you're posting with your Facebook profile's name and photo.

Unlike Facebook Pages, which are always public, a Facebook Group doesn't have to be. Many Facebook Groups are closed; you submit a request to join the group and have access when an admin approves you. Only other members of a private group can see your posts, questions, and comments. (More on this below)

On the other hand, if you comment on or like a Page, all of your information will be available to anyone on Facebook who looks at that Page.

So, if someone were to visit the NFL on CBS Facebook Page, they could see anyone who was commenting on a photo or discussing an article. This could cause some privacy concerns, especially if you don't have a solid understanding of how to use Facebook's privacy settings to protect your personal profile.

Closed Facebook Groups

A Group can be more private than a Page because the creator has the option to make it closed. When a group is closed, only those invited to the Group can see the content and information shared within it.

An example of a Facebook Group might be team members working on a project together and want to communicate with one another more efficiently. By creating a Group, the team is given a private forum to share ideas on the project and post updates, just like with a Page.

Still, all information is shared only with those within the group once it's made closed. Others will still be able to see that the group exists, but they won't be able to see its members or any posts or information within the closed Group unless they are invited.

Secret Facebook Groups

Even more private than the closed Group is the secret group. This type of group is exactly what you would expect it to be: secret. Nobody on Facebook can see a secret group other than those in the group.

This group will not appear anywhere on your profile, and only those within the group can see who the members are and what is posted. These groups could be used if you are planning an event that you don't want somebody to know about, or if you just want a secure platform to talk with friends.

Another example might be a family who wants to share pictures and news on Facebook but without other friends seeing everything.

Public Facebook Groups

The third privacy setting for a Group is public, meaning that anyone can see who is in the group and what has been posted. Still, only members of the group can post within it.

Networking: Groups vs. Pages

Another way groups are different from Pages is that they work on smaller networks than the entire Facebook network. You can limit your group to the network for your college, high school, or company, as well as make it a group for members of any network.

A Page can accumulate as many likes as possible. Facebook doesn't set a limit on the number of group members you can have, but after a group reaches 5,000 people, there are some restrictions put into place, such as admins not being able to send one message to all group members.

Once inside the group, you can choose to sort by most recent posts or most recent activity. If a Facebook group has fewer than 250 people, group members can see how many times the post has been viewed. After a group exceeds 250 members, this feature is disabled.

Another difference between joining a group and liking a Page is the number of notifications that you receive. When in a group, you can set your notification preferences to be alerted every time there's a post in the group or when a friend posts, or you can turn off notifications.

With a Page, however, you'll be notified when someone likes your comment or tags you in a comment, much like with regular comments and likes on Facebook.

Unique Features

A unique feature only offered in Pages is Page Insights. This allows the Page administrators to see what activity the Page has been receiving during a period of time, even in a graphical representation.

This is just one of the many ways Facebook Pages allow you to monitor the audience and how well your product or message is being received. These analytics are not offered, or needed, in Groups because they're meant to communicate with a small, select number of people rather than a wide-scale audience.

Groups have unique features, as well, including the admin's ability to designate members as Group Experts. Experts have a badge next to their name so group members can pay particular intention to informative posts. Admins and Group Experts can collaborate on Q&A sessions, address concerns, respond to questions, and more.

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