If you asked yourself this question late last week, and still don’t know the answer, here’s why.
As a member of any number of big Facebook groups, you may have noticed something strange last week. Yes, I’m talking about a sudden switch from “closed” to “secret,” pretty much all at once. So what happened? “The Great Zuccening of 2019.” Confused?
It all began when a group calling itself the “Indonesian Reporting Commission,” or IReC, started joining and reporting posts in the Facebook group Crossovers Nobody Asked For, managing to get the group suspended by Facebook. The same happened to several other groups, then group admins panicked, fearing that their groups would be taken down as well.
Why are so many Facebook groups changing to secret all at once? Can somebody fill me in? Thanks
— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) May 16, 2019
So, they made the switch to “secret” in a bid to limit the influx of new members. As you will already know, secret groups require an invitation from a member for anyone else to join.
The practice known as “zuccing” – to get someone (usually a page or a group) suspended by Facebook by spamming and reporting en masse – has become a popular tool used by trolls to target meme pages or groups. And given the ease with which users can now post to multiple groups at once, it all happened very fast.
As explained by a Facebook spokesperson, following IReC’s spamming campaign, Facebook removed several large Groups after “detecting content that violated our policies,” but later “discovered that this content was posted to sabotage legitimate, non-violating Groups.” The spokesperson also said that Facebook is now “working to restore any Groups affected and to prevent this from happening again.”
So, will it happen again? Very likely, yes. And even if trolls and bad actors don’t follow the same method to create another “great zuccening, ” they will undoubtedly be able to find any number of new ways to game the system and attack effectively.
Many groups have switched their settings back to “closed” now, but a large number of others are still secret, and trying to figure out how to proceed from now on. It just goes to show how vulnerable Facebook and its community is to abuse and the spread of misinformation.