Facebook has begun notifying admins of old groups that much of the content of these community discussion spaces will be archived — in other words migrated to the new Groups feature. However, group members won’t be ported unless the Page is eligible to upgrade instead of archive. Facebook is recommending admins save their old group content before the upgrade or archive, though it doesn’t specify how.
When Facebook launched the new Groups feature in October, it stated that old groups could not be upgraded to new Groups, and that no additional old groups could be created. It soon began the deprecation process for old groups, burying their bookmarks and navigation interface. However, last week alongside the launch of the Send button, it announced some relatively small, active old groups would receive the option to be upgraded into new Groups and keep their members.
Now when admins visit their old groups that don’t qualify for an upgrade, they’ll see a prompt at the top of the screen explaining the archiving process. Old groups will have their photos, wall posts, discussion threads (which will become wall posts), and group descriptions migrated, but not their “recent news”, group officer titles, info box, group network, or members.
Admins of archived old groups will have to re-add their current members, so therefore they should manually copy down the names of their members to facilitate the invite process if they want to reactive the group.
A Help Center article linked to in the notice explains the different migration process for those admins who receive the option to upgrade their old groups. They’ll see an “Upgrade This Group” prompt at the top of the old group, and members will also be able ask the admin to carry out the upgrade. All the same content will be ported over as is with old group archiving, except group members will automatically be added to the new Group.
There is no way for old group admins or members to request the upgrade option instead of the archive option. Facebook may have already decided which old groups will receive which option, so it may be futile to try to ramp up activity in an old group in hopes of attaining the upgrade option.
Overall, Facebook has done a good job of giving advance notice of the deprecation process for old groups and clearly explaining how it will be completed. It could better explain that “saving” old group content really means writing it down or copy and pasting it, though.
With key content being preserved to avoid a backlash, the only thing users have to gripe about is not having their members ported. And since new Group content can trigger notifications and appear in the news feed, it makes sense for Facebook not create an opportunity for spammers by forcibly adding users to the new version of a group that hasn’t been active in years.
[Thanks to Jim Hanas, Director of Social Media at Sonnet Media for the tip]