Several months ago Facebook held a summit in Chicago bringing together administrators of groups working to build community on Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg was on hand to share Facebook’s new mission with those in attendance and others following online.
Alex Deve, Product Manager for Facebook Groups, tells us about the Facebook Communities Summit and the company’s new mission.
What was the Facebook Communities Summit and will this be an annual event?
Facebook Communities Summit was a celebration of community. Facebook Groups help people build community online, whether it’s with people in their local neighborhood or with people from across the world who share similar interests or experiences. Group admins play a vital role in leading these communities which can become very meaningful to its members. In June, three hundred group admins attended the event to discuss the importance of community, participate in workshops and learn about new tools to help them in their role as admins.
Mark Zuckerberg also took the stage to unveil Facebook’s new mission: to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. As Mark noted in his keynote, Facebook believes groups are key to building these meaningful communities and as such, admins are as essential to Facebook as software developers and advertisers.
Facebook will continue to bring community leaders together in a variety of ways as we work to further our mission to bring the world closer together.
In the words of your new mission statement, how do you “bring the world closer together” and provide people with a sense of purpose?
Virtually all of Facebook’s products are designed to help bring people together, whether it’s going Live to share moments with friends around the world, engaging with a new community in Facebook Groups or finding the perfect item for your home on Marketplace. To us, bringing the world closer together means fostering communities that can help people connect both on and offline.
With Facebook Groups in particular we have further empowered admins by introducing a number of new tools that will help them to effectively manage and provide safe and supportive spaces for their communities. Tools include Group Insights, membership request filtering, group to group linking and the ability to remove a bad actor and schedule posts.
These new tools help group admins, who are real community leaders on Facebook, in a number of ways. Group Insights allow admins better understanding of what’s going on in their groups by showing them real-time metrics around growth, engagement, and membership.
We also hear from admins that admitting new members is one of the most time-consuming things they do. So, we added Membership request filtering to help them to sort and filter membership requests on common categories like gender and location, and then accept or decline all at once.
Removed member clean-up helps keep their communities safe from bad actors by allowing group admins to remove a person and the content they’ve created within the group, including posts, comments and other people added to the group, in one step.
To us, bringing the world closer together means fostering communities that can help people connect both on and offline.
Group to group link further encourages people on Facebook to find new communities by allowing group admins to recommend similar or related groups to their members with group-to-group linking.
What are some of the communities on Facebook that are succeeding at this?
Founded by admin Matt Prestbury, Black Fathers is a closed men’s only group with 25,000 members to date. The group describes itself as “Dads doing our thing. Showing the world that we are out there. Positive, actively involved Black fathers do exist.” Group content consists of men asking each other difficult questions (about raising teen girls, and prom dilemmas) as well as share stories of success like reconnecting with their own father, sharing fears of fatherhood and even sourcing legal advice for custody disputes.
Chris Fowler, an avid fisherman and a Keep Austin Fishing! group admin, moved to Austin from a small town in Texas without knowing many people. He met another fisherman who suggested that he join the Facebook group. He has since then found his best friends through Keep Austin Fishing!, which he describes as “a fishing family”—open to all types of people in the area who love fishing.
Matthew Mendoza, a recovered addict, started Affected by Addiction Support Group. The group is a safe space for people who are experiencing or recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, as well as their friends and family, to offer support and share stories. The growth in members, alone (0 to 45,000 members since November 2016) speaks to how necessary this community is.
Tina Peterson, an admin of Moms of Beverly (Chicago, IL), was able to adopt her son by reaching out to a foster mother on a Facebook page. After adopting her son, Lucian, she found support through Moms of Beverly, a local Facebook group for moms to meet up and ask for advice and recommendations in the Beverly, IL area. She has since then become an admin of the group and become best friends with the two admins who were admins before she joined, Lauren Kent and Shanya Gill-Gray.
You can learn more about creating a new Facebook group or watch Mark Zuckerberg’s presentation at the Facebook Communities Summit at Facebook.com.