Meta finally adds decent admin features for Facebook Groups

Meta has announced new features for admins in Facebook Groups to better moderate users' posts while making it easier for users to join in through QR codes.

While social networks have had the mammoth task of tightening up moderation, Meta has tried to improve its practices on Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

But it's Facebook Groups that have been bearing the brunt of misinformation in recent times, which is why Meta is stepping up its cause to help out the admins of these groups with more powerful features.

However, it remains to be seen if these will make a big difference in the ever-changing world of 2022.


Analysis: Will new features be enough?

New admin features in Facebook Groups

(Image credit: Facebook)

The blog post states other new features, such as being able to automatically approve or decline new users, based on the answers that they give when applying to be part of a group. There's also another useful new feature that allows admins to suspend users who have already had their recent posts muted, and their new posts still break the guidelines of the group

Meta has stated that it has 1.8 billion people that use Facebook Groups, with over half of all its users being members of five or more active groups, so new features for admins to help moderate these posts will always be welcome.

However, these are the types of features that should have been there years ago. Our US Editor-in-Chief, Lance Ulanoff has been receiving prompts to tighten up his security on Facebook, with a feature called Facebook Protect.

Facebook Protect in iOS

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The consequence of not enabling Facebook Protect is a full-lock-out of your account, restricting you from accessing the social media website.

This looks to be applicable to accounts with blue ticks for now, but there's always a chance that Meta will open this up to all users as an added security feature.

This comes back to Meta's stance on security and moderation. While it's welcome to see these updates for Facebook Groups, its approach to challenging misinformation on Pages statuses, Reels and even photos still has a long way to go to correct the narrative for current news around the world.

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Facebook Reels launches worldwide for iOS and Android alongside new features

Similar to Instagram Reels, Facebook is launching its own take on the feature first influenced by TikTok, outside of the USA from today (February 22), rolling out to 150 countries, including the UK.

In a blogpost, Facebook is also announcing features to help creators earn money from the reels that they create, alongside reels that can last for up to 60 seconds, and more features to come.

Facebook Reels launched in the USA back in September 2021, with users being able to access short videos from friends and pages, all in one section.

But the elephant in the room is to wonder where Instagram fits in this, and whether Facebook Reels has a place alongside TikTok, Snapchat and others.

New features also arrive

Alongside the ability to create 60-second reels, you can also create remixes of existing reels that others have created. This works similar to duets on TikTok, where you can use an existing video to showcase your reactions or respond to the original video.

If you're midway through making a new Reel and you need to pause, a new 'save to draft' option can help you pick off where you left off later in the day.

There's also going to be ways to share your Reels through Stories, alongside a dedicated Reels label at the top of the Facebook app to make it easier for users to find other videos.

Finally, ways to monetize Reels are slowly arriving, such as an upcoming feature called Stars, which is a way to 'tip' creators while a live Reel is ongoing.

Facebook Reels in action on iOS

(Image credit: Meta)

Reels looks to mimic what's made TikTok so successful so far. Instagram Reels has seemingly done well for Meta, but Instagram Stories is still its shining jewel.

Time will tell whether having two types of Reels from Meta will be worth having, but for now, better features with a worldwide rollout could help Facebook pivot to video in a better way, compared to its previous efforts of Facebook Live and Facebook Video feeds.

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Facebook Protect and 2FA is about to become the rule for some accounts

Facebook is finally making 2-Factor Authentication (2FA) the rule for some of its most-at-risk accounts.

It’s a smart move, protecting venerable Facebook users, especially those who are looked to for responsible and accurate information – think journalists, politicians, celebrities, and you'll get the idea. Someone gaining access to any one of these accounts and masquerading as it could have wide-reaching, damaging effects. The company made the announcement on Thursday, pre-briefing some reporters and then directing them to a full story on Wired.

Why I wonder has this taken so long?

Stories of people, in all stations of life, who’ve had critical accounts hacked are all too commonplace. I usually find out when someone sends me a separate email or text exclaiming, “Help! I’ve been hacked!” Worse yet is when they don’t know and I spot the bizarre activity on their Facebook account and send a private note through other channels: “Hey, I think your Facebook’s been hacked.’

2-Factor Authentication is a simple idea that few people adopt because they see it as annoying or overly complicated. Put simply, whenever you log into a system, you have to prove it’s really you through a secondary device or system, one that can give you a code to apply to that first system. 

Some 2FA systems use SMS texts to your phone (or a voice call), others use proprietary hardware that spits out unique, time-sensitive codes that also get entered into the original system.

For most people, the primary device handling 2FA is their smartphone. Most security system managers figure that if you have your phone with your SIM and unique phone number on it, that’s about as good as it needs to get for verification. Looked at another way, how likely is it that someone trying to use your email and maybe a password they found on the Dark Web to log into your Facebook will also have your phone in their hands?

Inside Facebook Protect: What's new?

The system in question, known as Facebook Protect, was designed originally as an opt-in for political figures. In addition to 2FA, there’s a Page publishing authentication system to ensure that nobody publishes offensive material on a candidate’s pages, and the requirement that Page managers use real names.

The new plan takes Facebook Protect further, with Facebook proactively identifying at-risk users or groups of users and targeting them to enroll in Facebook Protect. Personally, I’d like to see Facebook follow Google’s plan and require 2FA for all users.

It’s not a perfect system, and there are reports of phone scammers convincing unsuspecting service users (banks, cryptocurrency wallets, Venmo, PayPal, and other accounts that also use 2FA) to share the 2FA SMS codes. Still, it’s better than a single, poorly crafted password, or one that’s being passed around on the Dark Web like so much gossip.

Facebook’s plan, which sounds small and almost tentative, might still be a rude awakening for at-risk users who missed the memo and, after ignoring multiple prompts to enable 2FA, may find themselves locked out of their own accounts.

Facebook's Head of Security Policy Nathaniel Gleicher, however, told me via Twitter that the “Number of warnings will vary by country/context — we're adjusting to make sure people have the time they need. So far, we've seen the overwhelming majority (90%+) enroll on time w/out trouble!”

Getting locked out of Facebook would not be a great situation. But it's definitely better than a hacker or prankster taking over and posting things in your account that no one wants to see.

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