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Facebook will warn you when you're about to join a group that broke its rules

It's part of the social networking giant's effort to reduce the reach of hate speech and misinformation.

facebook-groups-warning
Facebook is limiting the reach of groups that violate its rules.
Facebook

If you're worried about falling in with a bad crowd on Facebook, a new change from the social media giant should help. The website will now alert you if a group you're joining has run afoul of its rules.

Facebook will also limit the invite notifications for these groups to reduce membership and limit the distribution of their content, the social media giant said Wednesday. The moves are part of Facebook's efforts to reduce the spread of harmful content such as hate speech and misinformation on its platform.

"We think these measures as a whole, along with demoting groups in recommendations, will make it harder to discover and engage with groups that break our rules," Tom Alison, Facebook VP of engineering, said in a statement.

Groups are public and private online spaces on the social network where users gather to discuss shared interests such as cooking, sports or parenting. But people have also used Facebook groups to share conspiracy theories, vaccine misinformation and hate speech.

Under Facebook's new policies, the admins and moderators of groups with several members who have broken Facebook's policies will be required to temporarily approve posts before they appear in the group. Repeated approval of content that breaks the rules could lead to the group's removal, Facebook said.

People with a record of repeated violations in groups will be prevented from being able to post or comment in any group for a period of time. The will also be blocked from being able to extend invitations to groups or create new groups.

Facebook has been focusing more on groups as more people shift to private online spaces to share their thoughts instead of posting publicly. More than 1.8 billion people use Facebook groups every month.