If you’ve ever created a group and added your friends to it based on their interests or been added to a group you don’t remember getting an invitation for, all of that is about to change.
This article from Impact Image Marketing discusses the new Facebook update, removing the ability to automatically add friends to a group.
Facebook began displaying the following message to Group admins in January 2019:
"We want to make sure that people are joining groups that are relevant and meaningful to them. Today, we’re moving people who have been added to a group, but never visited it, into the Invited section of the group’s Members list. In the Members list, you can see your group’s updated member count and send a reminder to invited members."
Facebook has released a new update which adds some new parameters around how group admins are able to invite and add new members to their groups.
Up until now, Facebook users have been able to add friends to groups which they believe those people will be interested in, and those friends would automatically be added to said group. You’ve likely experienced this for yourself – you get a notification that you’ve been added to a group of some kind, then you see a range of group updates making their way into your News Feed.
This can be a good way for group admins to inflate the size of their groups, because while those added users can, of course, remove themselves from the group, friends, in particular, may simply mute notifications, so as to not cause offense, but filter the updates out of their feed.
So, group admins may see a sudden and startling drop in membership numbers when viewing their normal members list.
Unfortunately, it appears that a fundamental misunderstanding about the newly implemented system has caused some group admins to conclude that ALL inactive members are being deleted. This is not the case. Members who have previously visited and participated in a group but later became inactive will NOT be automatically deleted by Facebook as suggested in the circulating warnings.
Only people who have been automatically added to a group but have NEVER visited the group will be moved to the new “Invited” list. Thus, the change only affects people who have never participated in the group in any way and are presumably not interested in doing so.
Thus, it is important for group admins to keep in mind that they are not losing worthwhile members who may have simply gone quiet for a while. They are only “losing” members who were added by somebody else but, given that they have not visited the group even once, have zero interest in it and are unlikely to become active members.
Furthermore, even these members are not being deleted completely from the group. Admins can still send out a final reminder notification to people who have previously been invited.
As well as displaying the above notice, Facebook is also sending out the following longer notification to group admins:
We’re making some updates to how members are invited to your group, and we wanted to share these changes with you. To help ensure people join Facebook Groups that are relevant and meaningful to them, you’ll see the following changes:
Updated Group Invitation — Now, when people are invited to a group, they can accept or decline the invite. Before, people could be added to groups by friends who thought they might be interested in them, and they’d immediately become a member. Some people may have been added to your group, but have never visited it.
Invited Section — In the next few weeks, people who’ve been added to your group — but have never visited it — will appear in the Invited section of your Members list, which only admins and moderators can view. They won’t be considered a member until they accept their invite. This means they will no longer be included in your group’s total member count, so you may see a decrease in your group’s total member count.
Reminder Notification — Because you’re an admin, in the next few weeks you’ll be able to send one notification to invited people to remind them to accept or decline the invite to your group.
As Facebook notes, this also means that there may well be people who’ve been added to your group who’ve never actually visited it.
So now, these users will not be automatically added, but will be put onto a new ‘Invited’ list in the group admin dashboard. If a user is invited by a friend, they’ll need to manually accept that invitation by visiting the group. They’ll also no longer be included in the total group member count, which could see some group audience figures drop.
Facebook is also giving admins the capacity to send one reminder note to each invitee to re-prompt them to join their group. If those users don’t take action, they won’t be added, or listed in group member counts.
It’s a fairly simple, and logical addition for Facebook – as noted, it can be annoying to be added into a group, and to have your News Feed invaded by random updates from discussions that you may actually have little to no interest in. But it will, as noted, affect some group member counts. If you’ve invited a heap of people to join your Facebook group, and you haven’t seen those people active in your community, you could see your numbers decline.
The changes are going into effect over the next few weeks.