Effective August 22, 2019, Facebook is removing the ability to start a chat with other group members within a Facebook Group. Here’s an update on the news, as well as tips on the workarounds being reported.
First a little background:
Originally launched in October 2018, the group chat function was designed to promote more direct discussions between group members, outside of post comments. A member of a group could start a direct message with another member or other members of the group. However, it seems this has created a bit of a privacy concern as people users do not know could direct message them. It’s also created a bit of a spamming concern. As people have become increasingly sensitive about others reaching them via direct messaging, they tend not to be thrilled that a random stranger they’re minimally connected to through a Facebook group is able to contact them directly thanks to this functionality. It seems some less-than-scrupulous users would spam their fellow group members directly with their sales pitches and such. (I, personally, had someone contact me this way based solely on the fact that I’d liked a post in a group. I responded immediately, letting them know how creepy I found it and requested that they never, ever contact me again.)
NOTE: This function is not to be confused with “group chats” within Messenger, where you can chat with multiple friends within a single message. That’s not changing or being dismantled.
At this point, the only two workarounds appear to be (1) encouraging discussion in post comments, or (2) starting a group chat within Messenger with trusted connections you’ve made within groups – fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you used this function.
What are your thoughts on the group chat function going away? Did you find it useful…or creepy?