Facebook rolls out new tools for group admins, plus badges and profiles for members

Facebook today introduced a good handful of new features for groups on Facebook, with a focus on helping admins better manage and grow their online communities, and helping members better connect with one another. The additions, inspired by user feedback, include support for welcome posts, badges, member profiles and other admin-level controls.

The company met this June with hundreds of Facebook group admins at its first-ever Facebook Communities Summit in Chicago. This allowed Facebook staff to hear directly from those who run online groups what sort of tools they need.

One common activity that admins do is welcome new members to their Facebook group. But until today, this has been done manually by writing a post, then locating each new member and tagging them one-by-one in that post. A new “welcome posts” feature, however, lets admins write a welcome post that automatically tags new members, speeding up the process.

Two other new features are focused on helping members better get to know one another, as well as their admin team and other group leaders. With the new badges, members will now be able to easily spot group admins, moderators and members who only recently joined the group.

Meanwhile, member can also now view group-specific profiles about others when they click on their name. This gives you a brief intro to the person using publicly available information, like how long they’ve been a member of the group, whether you have mutual friends or if they’re attending any of the same events as you.

The idea, Facebook explains, is to help people discover if they have anything in common with the other group member. These mini-profiles also have buttons that let you view the person’s full Facebook profile, message them directly or add them as a friend.

Facebook is also introducing new tools and controls for groups, including a Group Insights tool that offers tips like when to schedule posts based on historical member engagement data.

And admins can now turn off commenting on a per-member basis instead of locking down an entire post’s comments, to help keep conversations flowing without the bad elements. They can additionally choose to boot members from multiple groups they manage with a single click, if those members can’t abide by the group rules.

These are the first of many changes to come to Facebook Groups in the days ahead, Facebook notes, as it learned a lot from its interactions with community admins, it says. It also started an invite-only Facebook group for admins where it can collect further feedback.

The new tools and features are rolling out starting today.