I’d like to add my voice to the company of those who are thoroughly annoyed with Facebook’s “Add to group” feature.
If someone adds you to a group, you immediately become a member of that group. This is not an invitation, it’s not a request, there’s no “click to join”. It’s done without letting you have a say in the matter at all.
- I’m an atheist, but I’ve repeatedly found myself added to Christian groups
- I’ve been added to political groups whose views and causes I do not support
- I’ve been added to groups whose sole purpose is to gather members and followers
- And so on.
And you can’t turn that feature off!
The only thing you can do is cancel your membership, i.e. leave the group, after the fact.
And once you are a member of a group, your membership may be taken to mean that you represent it, that you support that group’s views and agenda. This doesn’t play well if you were invited against your will and without your knowledge, to a group which isn’t something you’d normally associate yourself with. So if you fail to leave the group before someone else notices you’re in it, things may get awkward and you may well have some explaining to do.
If you miss the notification about being added to the group, chances are you’ll stay a member for some time before it catches your attention. And if you miss it for more than just a few days it’ll be gone from the notification list altogether, and there is to my knowledge no way to find out who added you to the group (which annoys me because I would certainly want to have words with that person, or remove them from my friend list). It does not show up in your email notifcations. I have checked.
The issue is addressed on Facebook’s Help Centre, but I use the word “addressed” in its loosest possible sense because, as you can see, their answer simply avoids the question entirely:
Can I prevent people from adding me to a new group?
Similar to being tagged in a photo, you can only be added to a group by one of your friends. When a friend adds you to a group, a story in the group—and in News Feed for Open or Closed groups—will indicate that your friend has added you to a group.
Please keep in mind:
- For most groups, only your friends can add you to groups. Groups for schools allow people to add people from their school community even if they aren’t friends on Facebook.
- When a friend adds you to a group, you’ll get a notification right away.
- You can leave a group anytime. To do so, just go to the group page and click Leave Group in the right column. Once you leave a group, you can’t be added by anyone else unless you explicitly request to be re-added.
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I wonder who clicks “Yes” to that last question. What Facebook effectively says is that the solution to having someone repeatedly stabbing you with a pencil is to wear a band-aid if it bleeds. The problem, in their opinion, isn’t the stabbing, it’s the bleeding.
In my opinion, auto-adding people to groups is a stupid feature. I don’t mind getting invited to groups by friends who genuinely think that I might be interested (then there’s always the chance to say “No thanks!” or simply ignore the invitation), but being forced into membership is not how I like to play this.
Facebook, please do the intelligent thing and let us have simple invites instead.
PS: The next person who invites me to a religious or Creationist group without asking first will suddenly find their wall full of Richard Dawkins’ Facebook posts!
- Can I prevent people from adding me to a new group? (from Facebook help pages, Facebook’s answer to this question misses the mark completely)
- How To Stop People From Adding You To Facebook Groups (hint: you can’t)
- Beware of Friends Adding You to Facebook Groups without Permission