For a long time, Facebook has offered three visibility settings for groups: Open, Closed, and Secret. But now the company is going to shift to much simpler options: Public and Private.

While "Open" was pretty much self-explanatory, "Closed" and "Secret" often were the cause of confusion among Facebook users. An admin might set a group to Closed without realizing that it would still be searchable, for example.

Which is why Facebook is thinning the options down to just two basic settings. Public groups can be joined by everyone and are searchable by everyone, as well. Meanwhile, Private groups require permission to access — and whether groups can be searchable are now determined via a "visibility" setting.

Facebook Group Privacy

The change might seem small, but it could help people be less confused about their groups' privacy settings.

"By default, a group that was formerly 'secret' will now be 'private' and 'hidden.' A group that was formerly 'closed' will now be 'private' and 'visible.' Groups that are 'public' will remain 'public' and 'visible.' Admins can find the new controls in their Group Settings. Just as it is today, there are restrictions to if and when an admin can change the privacy setting of a group. Group members are always notified when an admin updates the group's privacy setting," Facebook said in an update. The company claims this will simplify who can find groups and see its members and posts.

In private groups, only confirmed members are able to see who else is in the group and what the other members have posted. Admins are able to control who discovers the group, either by making it "hidden" or "visible." The same community standards will apply to public and private groups, though, as they have to public, closed, and secret ones before. As such, Facebook is still able to look out for "bad actors and bad content."

The Strategy

The change seems to be in line with CEO Mark Zuckerberg's plans, which he outlined during the company's most recent F8 developer conference. He positioned private groups as big part of Facebook's strategy going forward, and this indeed seems like part of such sentiments. Unfortunately, while this helps people differentiate public groups from private ones more efficiently and with less confusion, it still doesn't address the pervasiveness of hate groups on the platform.

Thoughts about Facebook groups being divided into two categories moving forward? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!

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