Anonymous posts in Facebook groups are now completely anonymous – even for some admins
The power and perils of anonymous posts in Facebook Groups
I have been noticing an uptick in anonymous posts in my Facebook group lately. I’m not sure why, exactly (please take my poll and let me know your thoughts) but I suspect it may be due to one or more of the following:
- Fear of group members knowing about sensitive information, such as health issues, or issues with children, spouses, etc.
- Fear of judgment or retaliation from group members
- Member is a “lurker” and doesn’t like to put themselves out there about anything!
- (Something else? Take my poll!)
I suspect Facebook has allowed it because it may increase posting in groups, since the fear of being known is no longer a problem.
I also wonder if Facebook will extend anonymous posting beyond groups – as in, in the feed, etc. 🤔
One VERY NEW happening in my Facebook group is as admin, I can no longer see who is making anonymous posts. Just last week I could still see the name of the anonymous poster (also: really? This is what you’re posting anonymously about?):
I can still remove the post and ban the author – but I don’t know who I am banning until after it is all said and done, when I can *probably* see my most recently banned user names. I don’t know for sure because I have not taken this action as of yet:
The power of anonymity:
Anonymity provides a safe space for individuals to share sensitive or controversial opinions, enabling a more open and honest discussion. People who fear judgment or retribution may feel more comfortable expressing themselves when their identity remains concealed.
It can bridge gaps of hierarchy, age, gender, or social status and allows people who might feel intimidated or overshadowed in face-to-face interactions to contribute on an equal footing. It encourages diversity of perspectives and fosters inclusivity within the group.
Anonymity can also offer solace to those facing personal challenges. Individuals struggling with mental health issues, relationship problems, or stigmatized experiences can seek support from a community that may otherwise be unavailable to them. Anonymity allows for genuine empathy and solidarity.
The perils of anonymity:
The anonymity feature can be be exploited by individuals spreading false information, engaging in trolling, or purposely causing harm. Without accountability, some may use anonymous posts to promote hate speech, cyberbullying, or other forms of abusive behavior. This can damage the group’s integrity and create a toxic environment.
Anonymous posts also make it challenging to hold individuals responsible for their actions or words. This absence of accountability can lead to a breakdown in trust within the group, as users may question the authenticity and reliability of the information shared. It can contribute to increased polarization within a group.
When members are shielded from repercussions, they may feel emboldened to express extreme views, leading to heated debates, personal attacks, and the formation of factions within the community. This can disrupt the overall harmony and purpose of the group.
I brought my current inability to see who is making anonymous posts in Monetizing your Facebook group and a member commented that he saw this as a huge problem for a variety of reasons, including safety concerns:
“We just had someone post a suicidal ideation. If I couldn’t see who they were, I would not have been able to get them help…. Unless Facebook is going to put live staff on the line who can see such posts, this is a terrible idea. Not to mention what if they anon post content that trips the red flags on the algorithm. Will the group be penalized?”
Mitigating the challenges as an admin:
Moderation: Effective admin’ing and moderation plays a crucial role in managing anonymous posts within a Facebook group. Dedicated admins can enforce community guidelines, remove harmful content, and mediate conflicts. They can strike a balance between freedom of expression and maintaining a safe and respectful environment.
Reporting mechanisms: Facebook provides reporting mechanisms that enable group members to flag inappropriate or abusive anonymous posts – and Facebook also flags many posts itself (often incorrectly, however). This empowers the community to self-regulate and assists admins in identifying and addressing problematic behavior.
Opting not to permit anonymous posts: You also have a choice. You can turn anonymous posting off in your group if it is causing too many problems as an admin. You can also turn post approval on so that you see all anonymous posts coming in before they’re approved. Currently, there is no option to join a group anonymously and/or post anonymous comments, which likely saves a ton of grief.
I hope anonymous membership and comments are never an option!
How to turn Anonymous posting on or off in your group:
Do you allow anonymous posting in your Facebook group?
Why do you think it is currently so popular with users?
Please leave your experiences and opinions in the comments!