A New Wave of Attacks on Facebook Groups

It’s tough for any digital platform on this planet to deal with spammers looking to misuse its tools for an unintended purpose. This week, Facebook experienced a new wave of misuse in Groups.

Some account holders a.k.a sabotage members joined many Facebook groups and posted offensive content to them. The members then reported the group for offensive content causing Facebook to shut them down. Since then, Facebook has gone on record to confirm that many groups have been shut down incorrectly due to this new attack.

In an interview with Vice, a Facebook spokesperson said,

“We removed several Groups from Facebook after detecting content that violated our policies. We’ve since discovered that this content was posted to sabotage legitimate, non-violating Groups. We’re working to restore any Groups affected and to prevent this from happening again.”

Facebook has been pushing Groups usage recently while working to improve its content curation and enforcing publishing rules, it is vulnerable to such attacks primarily due to the ease with which these attacks can be carried out.

Social media expert Matt Navarra recently showed how easy it is to post to multiple groups at once. Keeping that in mind, you can imagine how easily ill-intentioned users can join several groups at once and post offensive content there simultaneously.

As a response to these attacks, many groups have changed their status to Secret. Secret groups are unlisted in search reducing the probability of sabotage members joining the groups.

This works for some groups but not so much for the business groups. This is far from ideal for groups who want to be discovered. Overcoming such attacks is not easy, even for Facebook who is working fast to come up with a solution to this recent problem.

In the meantime, the best possible course of action is to pay attention to who is joining the group before approving their request and keep a close watch on the content being shared. It’s not really a solution but it’s not easy to avoid such attacks, as previously noted.

Eventually, Facebook will come through with a solution to this wave of attacks and weed out the ones responsible for these attacks. Group admins need to stay vigilant till then.

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Aseem Gupta

Aseem Gupta

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