Why Not Everyone is a Fan of the New Facebook Groups

Facebook Groups Draw Mixed Reviews

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Some people really like Facebook’s new Groups feature. Influential tech blogger Robert Scoble could hardly praise the feature enough. He used the phrase "massively cool" more than once in his description. He’s not alone. Many are welcoming the opportunity to separate their friends into different groups and communicate in different ways with them (like chat, email lists, and integration with third-party apps). 

Some are less than thrilled with the new feature, however.The feature was announced during an event based around the concept of giving users more control, but it appears that more control doesn’t necessarily mean complete control. Jason Calacanis, for example, found out the hard way that anyone can be added to a group, regardless of whether or not they actually opted in (hat tip to Matthew Ingram). The group creator has the ability to make the group open, closed, or secret.

Calacanis found out he was added to a Facebook group for NAMBLA (the North American Man-Boy Love Association), along with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington. At Calacanis.com, Jason posted an email he sent to Facebook informing them of what happened. He closed with, "If you guys want to run these new features by me before you launch them, I can probably save you from a couple of privacy law suits each year."

This is really the kind of thing you would think Facebook would want to avoid after all of the privacy brouhaha earlier this year. Of course not everyone is going to have people adding them to questionable groups, but if it can be done, some people just aren’t going to be comfortable with it. 

It’s not much different from tagging in Facebook Photos, a feature that I’ve frankly had issues with myself. It’s nice that anyone can tag you in a photo and have that show up first thing in the photos on your profile isn’t it? Groups adds that extra layer of association though, which some my find even more objectionable, as with Calacanis’ case. With this kind of functionality, people could be made to look like they’re Nazis, KKK members, pedophiles, Justin Bieber fans, or anything else.  Granted, users can report groups to Facebok:

Facebook - Report Group

I can definitely see the feature being abused for politics. It’s probably already happening. 

The feature does appear to only let you add people who you are friends with to Groups, so you may want to choose your friends carefully. It may not be a good idea to be friends with just anybody, and if you are, at least keep up with your notifications. You will be notified when you’ve been added to a group. 

The email feature has received some criticism as well. If you are added to a group and you don’t keep up with your notifications, you may find your inbox getting filled up by people in that group posting things. You can put an end to this by opting out, but some feel you should have to opt in to this feature to begin with. 

What do you think of the new Facebook Groups? Let us know

Why Not Everyone is a Fan of the New Facebook Groups
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  • Guest

    Best quote ever…. “With this kind of functionality, people could be made to look like they’re Nazis, KKK members, pedophiles, Justin Bieber fans, or anything else.”

    • Chris Crum

      For the record, I don’t put Justin Bieber fans in the same category with the others, but there are probably some people who wouldn’t want to be added to a Justin Bieber fan group by one of their friends.

  • Pissed Off Facebook Member

    It’s amazing to me that people continue to sign up for Facebook given all the blatant atrocities they’ve committed against privacy, freedom of speech, and even simple usability.


    Actual revolutionaries and entrepreneurs worked very hard over the last 15-30 years to improve upon the way in which we can present information to friends and the public, not the least of which is the graphical aspect. Why is it that when I’m creating an Event, I can’t even make description text different sizes, fonts, bold faces, etc.? How am I supposed to signify, for example, who are the headliners are the next show I’m putting on if all text looks the same?

    I’m getting real sick of Facebook’s stubbornness to improve even the most simple of features, let alone their superfluous tweaks and reconfigurations of things that are of no use to me.

  • http://www.toojuicy.com/ Hazel

    1) You can

    • http://www.how2e-books.com/ Guest

      Exactly, my experience. When signed up with facebook, I started to get lots and lots of junk mails.. and facebook insist to include you real name instead of nickname.. its open to every crook to take it..

  • Nancy

    I object strenuously to facebook putting me in a group without my prior authorization. I have family members who are my facebook ‘friends’ who have interests that are completely opposed to my views. I definitely want to choose any affilition I have. I think this violates the privacy settings we set on facebook. Before implementation, facebook should implement a new privacy setting that lets us opt out of inclusion in groups without prior approval.

  • http://selfhelpmadeasy.blogspot.com/ amirizar10

    I am a fan and like it fine. Where some fail to really appreciate “Facebook” and the like is in “nilly-dilly” usage that gets them in unpleasant, unexpected situations. (Google amirizar10)

  • http://www.phatzplace.ecrater.com/ Phatz Place Online Boutique And Gift Shop

    Something for everyone. Please come check out my store. Submit any questions or comments to my personal email at : pixieholden@yahoo.com, please be sure to add Phatz Place in the subject line. Thank you.

  • JT

    I’m always interested in “improving”, But just like last night on 20/20 “Catfish” some putz will ruin it for everyone else, like you said, they can put them on a list or even mess with them by saying they are someone who they are not. Saying they are some beautiful girls and they are some fat ol slob up in indianna. Sorry but it’s true. I am an advocate on keeping identities private and not to be stolen, and that is what these people are doing, there has to be a way that FaceBook can help save identities. It is up to Facebook to do this, otherwise they can have a lot of law suits on their hands…
    But I use Facebook and I think it’s a great way to get the message out to your friends…you just have to pick and choose your friends…

  • http://www.Electric-Reviews.org Mark

    I like separating friends and business friends but i extremely dislike being added to groups of which i give no authorization. This bothers me tremendously.

  • http://www.foexgood.com/ foexgood

    Le fervent opposant

  • Guest

    Facebook sucks and is for losers…..and the movie social network is even for bigger losers….fuck facebook

  • Guest

    Crap! Just like the rest of Facebook. Try a real social network – Get off your ass, go out and meet people!!

  • Betty Boop

    What does that say about all you people who allow a couple of computer nerds take over you identities and you privacy’Get out asapI say, It is not even good for businesses as there are only inadequate people losers with their heads stuck in computers no money and no personal network of real friends.Add to that a lot of desperates marcisistic young women and not so young looking for Luuuurve transalate = SEX.With male predators stalking them.Who needs it.

  • http://www.how2e-books.com/ Guest

    I had to close my account with facebook.. they have no privacy. When you sign in with a face book name, it will show on the public page, which sites you visited.. facebook is annoying.
    Best quote ever…. “With this kind of functionality, people could be made to look like they’re Nazis, KKK members, pedophiles, Justin Bieber fans, or anything else.”

  • Peter

    If it was up to me, not only would there not be Facebook groups, Facebook would be illegal. I would have banned it long ago.
    It is an un necessary evil which you don’t have to go out to find. My kids don’t have to go out and find total unknown strangers with worrying backgrounds. They just bring them straight into my home through a computer.

    I currently have problems with my daughter in regards to an individual she met through Facebook.
    The background of this individual, who my daughter just can’t remove from her thoughts, and is now involved with is concerning.

    I can thank Facebook for my daughters demise for bringing the entire world in front of her.
    I don’t like Facebook, I don’t look at Facebook, anyone that looks at Facebook has no sense, and I hope Facebook one day is shut down, before it destroys even more lives.

    This is a program that was not developed by a mature adult with a sense of risks involved, but a young individual with no thought what so ever as to to the consequences that can be encountered by people the world over, and people the world over are just as silly for getting involved with such a program.

    There is no value to Facebook, never was, never will be.


  • http://www.squidoo.com/massachusetts-neon Massachusetts Neon

    It’s truly the age of no boundaries or privacy. I think if you’re worried about privacy issues and things of that nature, don’t even join the website in question!

  • http://pctvblog.blogspot.com pctvblog

    Um 2 good.This another wonderful source.

  • J-Guest

    No way. If anyone adds me to a FB group, I’m closing my FB account. Not comfortable with the whole photo tagging thing as it is, but this is ridiculous!

  • http://quitweednow.org andi

    It’s easy to burn the new feature down to the good old privacy issue, that hangs like a knot around facebook‘s neck. If people want to harm your reputation on FB they will always find a way.
    That’s the sad reality of FB.
    But it’s a great wake up call for all those people who are so fixated on having as many FB buddies as possible. It’s unreal and in the end no one will give a d*mn how many friends you have that you don’t even know.
    The new feature might make FB more natural.

  • http://www.kwatadeal.com Chris

    Its a terrible thing to be added to a fb group you dont like. You can easily be associated with a certain group of people. This may even cost you a job! I think some people may now have to consider reducing the number of facebook buddies. Limit to those you know. If you have 1,000 friends, and only 10% add you to a group, those are 100 groups!

  • Harvey

    Facebook groups are just veiled spamming in a lot of ways. The purpose of many of the titles is to promote goods and services beyond any human good they provide. When old world Russian Communism had spys on every street they did not intrude into our lives like advertisers do, icluding facebook groups. People should be allowed to vote on groups and their word should be final.

  • http://www.diaperdesserts.com/ Diaper Cakes

    I don’t think they should allow this! It’s just like the photo tagging. I don’t want old photos of me 15 years ago being connected with my current facebook account. I think a lot of people feel the same way.

  • http://www.cazazz.com Carolyn King

    Presumably the same criticism could be aimed at twitter lists? Anyone can create a list and make it public, even without following the people on the list. So you could be lumped in with all sorts of people. You can see which lists you’re on, but I don’t know if you can remove yourself (apart from asking nicely) and if you are on a lot of lists it would be hard to manage. Like all social media, use with caution and choose your friends/followers wisely!

  • http://ebook-site.com Bryan Quinn

    I’m not sure what sort of impact, if any, this has on my FB account. However, the comments here have provided an entertaining read. LOL

  • Alex G

    Regarding “Many are welcoming the opportunity to separate their friends into different groups and communicate in different ways with them (like chat, email lists, and integration with third-party apps)”

    These features already existed with lists. Facebook should have trained people how to use them if they really wanted to allow group separation. And the lists give you tons more of controls than the new groups. The only one that didn’t exist was Facebook group chat, and have serious doubts about the convenience of holding a chat with 10 people at a time.

    I honestly do not understand the motives for Facebook other than copying a similar product that Google introduced in Orkut 2 months ago. Why would Facebook encourage to eliminate everyone that is not a real friend from your list? That would reduce traffic, revenue from ads, hurt the game platform, hurt Facebook credit sales.

  • http://NationalShowTickets.com NationalShowTickets.com

    Its the old saying “You can’t please everyone all the time” but you can try. Its a FEATURE that some can use and others may have no need for but its a FEATURE so use it or not Facebook is as popular as ever and continues to try to improve on a good thing.

    A big fan of Facebook

  • http://www.threadthat.com MrPrivacy

    Take a look at ThreadThat.com. It is a new, free web application that allows you to share with groups of other ThreadThat users protected by end-to-end encryption. Every message you post and every file you upload is sent and stored using strong encryption. It is very easy to use and provides maximum protection from eavesdropping. You can import your contacts, create groups (or not) and start sharing privately. Your groups are not visible to others and no one can add someone else to a group you own. It won’t find your friends for you, but if you already know who your friends are, then this should give you piece of mind.

  • Jake

    I just closed my account. I won’t have this ruining my future.

  • Guest

    The new Group format is HORRIBLE!…it auto added people I thought I was inviting…no seperate album for pics or tabs, when they click on pics they get into my FB album I added pics from..totally unorganized..who is the genius that decided to change this?

    Need to click on post a message to put a post? WTF?

    They need to put it back as it was !

  • Law-Group-Inc

    This article is so offensive and aligning Justin Bieber with KKK or Namla groups is hateful and disgusting on your part.
    Everybody!… Unsubscribe from this crap.
    CHRIS you are a CRUM- you should be fired.

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