Facebook just introduced a way for group administrators to ensure that users seeking access to their groups actually belong in those groups.
Group admins can now go into the settings menu in their groups and select “Ask Pending Members Questions,” where they can then choose up to three questions for potential members to answer, in order to help determine whether they fit in with the mission of the group.
The answers are not posted, and they can only be seen by admins and moderators of the group. They are limited to 250 characters.
A Facebook spokesperson told Josh Constine of TechCrunch:
Screening new membership requests requires time and legwork for admins—particularly for groups built around focused passions or purpose. For these groups, admins typically have specific criteria they require before admitting new members. Establishing these open-ended questions enables them to more quickly review and approve member requests; in turn, people seeking communities of support or shared interest can more quickly connect with others.
Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg devoted part of his opening remarks during the company’s first-quarter earnings call earlier this month to groups, saying that more than 100 million users are part of “very meaningful” groups, and elaborating:
Building a global community that works for everyone starts with building millions of smaller supportive communities. This is especially important, since membership in many physical communities is declining. We recently found that more than 100 million people on Facebook are members of what we call very meaningful groups, like parenting or rare diseases—support groups that are an important part of their support structure. My hope is to help more than 1 billion people join meaningful groups to strengthen our social fabric over the next few years.
The social network also announced in April that it will hold its first-ever Communities Summit for group admins. The event will take place June 22 and 23 in Chicago.