Privacy Matters: The New Public Groups

By Hasan Dag, Product Manager

Facebook Groups have been around since 2010, and in that time, have helped people from all over the world connect. People turn to Private groups to come together around shared life experiences and build deeper connections, and people turn to Public Groups for more open communities on various topics. Today we announced a number of changes to Facebook Groups, including a new Public Groups experience that will begin testing in the coming months. This includes making it easier for people to discover and participate in all the interesting conversations happening in Public groups.

We’ll start to surface related Public group discussions to you across the Facebook app, including in News Feed and in the updated Groups tab. People will also be able to join Public groups without having to wait for approval, though admins of those groups will still have control over who participates in their group, such as with the new Admin Assist feature.

These changes will help people encounter diverse perspectives and engage in discussions with others with different backgrounds and life experiences. We will start testing these changes later this year. At that time, admins will have the option to include their groups in the new experience. 

Who sees my information and activity?

Public Group posts may now get more distribution on and off Facebook so that more people can discover and join in on the conversation. The audience of Public Groups hasn’t changed. The content shared in Public groups is visible to anyone on and off Facebook, and the member list is visible to anyone on Facebook. With these changes, it is more likely that more people will see, and may interact with, the content posted to Public Groups. This includes people who may not be members of the group.

Private groups remain the same, so only members can see who else is in the group and the content within.

What choices and controls do I have?

Group members always have the choice to accept or decline a group invite, and have full visibility into whether the group is Public or Private. If a group changes from Public to Private, members are notified. Private groups are not able to change to Public.

Admins still have the option to change their group to private so that only other members can see the member list and content within the group. During the 72-hour transition time of requesting this change, any admin in the group will be able to reverse it. After 72 hours, this change is permanent and the group will become a Private group.

How does the new Public Groups experience impact data collection?

As with other parts of Facebook, we collect data from Public Groups to personalize your experience, including ads. Your data may be used to show you content from Public Groups that you may be interested in, such as posts and comments that are relevant to your interests. To learn more about the information Facebook collects and how it’s used, check out our Data Policy and How Ads Work.

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