Mashable: The bizarre reason why several Facebook Groups just changed their privacy settings

A collective known as the Indonesian Reporting Commission is allegedly mass-reporting popular Facebook Groups.
A collective known as the Indonesian Reporting Commission is allegedly mass-reporting popular Facebook Groups.
Image: JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images
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Over the past 24 hours, panic has spread across some of Facebook’s most popular groups.

Several popular Facebook Groups since Wednesday have switched their privacy settings to “secret” following the ban of a popular meme group page with nearly 500,000 members. The group Crossovers Nobody Asked For (CNAF) appears to have been targeted by a collective known as the Indonesian Reporting Commission, who falsely mass-reported CNAF for hate speech. 

The practice of coordinated mass-reporting forces Facebook to take down the reported group. Screenshots from IReC’s now-deleted Facebook Page show a full list of the Facebook Groups it had targeted.

Word about the Indonesian Reporting Commission quickly spread across Facebook, causing many of the platform’s top groups to change their privacy settings to “secret” as a precaution. The secret privacy settings for Facebook Groups essentially hides the community from everyone except its current members.




“Reports of similar meme pages making the switch spurred on a lot of buzz,” said one admin from a political meme group with over 400,000 members in a statement to Mashable. “[There was] fear that [the group] could be a target next.”

“Better safe than sorry,” said another Facebook Group admin in response to why they had changed its privacy settings.

Facebook informs its users via notification when a group they’re in changes its privacy settings. This caused confusion among many users when people logged into their accounts and were greeted with a blizzard of notifications about the settings change from each group they were in.


Not long after the attempted group takedowns, Facebook users allegedly discovered the identity of the Indonesian Reporting Commission’s leader. This led to an explanation and apology from the individual.

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“My reason for that wrongdoing was to delete or destroy everything negative in Facebook, like, SARA [religious offensive jokes], hoax, and others, who break Facebook rules,” said the apology posted on an Indonesian Facebook Page. “Also…[I found] some hate-speech or religious offensive jokes.” 






“I’m deeply sorry for what happened to everyone, and to our wrongdoings. I, as leader of IReC, will stop IReC’s operation, and we will take responsibility for everything happened,” it continued.

Earlier this month, Facebook redesigned its website and mobile applications to heavily promote its Facebook Groups feature. The company has been heavily criticized for its reliance on the News Feed and for its various privacy issues over the years.

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As of Thursday afternoon, the group that the IReC had removed, Crossovers Nobody Asked For, was restored on Facebook.

“I’ve since changed [the settings] back as it seems the scare may have been unwarranted based on the content our meme page has,” the political meme group admin us.

Mashable has reached out to Facebook for comment and will update this post when we hear back.

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Source: feeds.mashable.com

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