In this article I’m going to show you how to use strategies, tools and features to moderate a Facebook group.

A lot of group owners think that because things have been going OK, nothing will go wrong in the future. The problem is, when something inevitably does happen – and it will, the shockwaves through your group will be much bigger, the damage more destructive and the situation harder to deal with if you don’t already have a plan in place. 

If something happens and you’re unable to respond with confidence and decisiveness, it can take a long time for a group to recover trust and engagement. The fact is some groups never do recover.

You don’t want that to happen to your group.

With a plan in place, you can head off a sticky situation before it gets going, confidently neutralise conflict without making it worse and keep your group and your members safe.

And let’s not forget about you! As the group owner, you shouldn’t have to worry about your group when you’re offline.

The good news is that the art of moderating an online community has come a long way. You don’t have to start from scratch and make it up on your own!

Online communities have now been around long enough for their to be moderation “best practices,” and Facebook has proactively developed a suit of tools and features aimed at making the group experience great for the members and those that manage them.

Whether you already have a group or a considering starting one, this article will give you confidence to implement a moderation strategy that works for your group. 

In this article we’ll go over:

– What moderation is

– The three stages of moderation

– Tools, features and strategies for each moderation stage.

What is ‘moderation’?

Moderation is the practice of keeping a group safe.

Groups are safer when they have boundaries around the behaviour and expectations of being part of the group.

This in turn helps your members feel able to be freer within the group as knowing that the group is being proactively managed increases trust.

There are some misconceptions that moderation is about wielding a big stick around, but as you’ll see, most moderation practices are either hands off or gently guiding the group to engage in ways that make being in the group valuable to all the members.

Moderating a group is as much about cultivating a culture as it is about managing member engagement.

There are three stages of moderation:

  • Preventative
  • Proactive
  • Responsive

Preventative practices aim to stop problems from arising in the first place.

Examples: setting up a group description, rules and membership questions, post curation tools.


Proactive practices are where you are actively involved in promoting group culture.

Examples: welcome posts for new members that highlight group guidelines and expectations of being a member, getting involved in the comments of a post to remind the commenters to abide by the group rules, turning off comments on a post that is no longer bringing value to the group.


Responsive practices are where you apply consequences for breaking the rules.

Examples: muting members from being able to comment for a period time, banning members from the group.


Preventative Practices

Let’s look at the tools available to prevent things from going south in the first place.

Group Description

Your group description may not seem like an obvious tool for moderation, but this is where you make the purpose of your group clear so that it attracts the right kind of person and repels the wrong kind of person.

If you have more of the right kind of people who are interested in the same purpose and mostly on the same page, you should have less problems and conflicts arise!

Your group description should include:


  • What the purpose of the group is
  • Who the group is for
  • What you can expect inside the group

How to edit the group description:

  • Go into “Group Settings”
  • Click on the pencil next to “Name and Description”
Group Rules

When issues and conflicts arise, your group rules are the reference point for moderating posts and managing conflict. They will likely change over time as your group evolves.

Group rules are a feature you can activate in your Facebook group. They are a set of rules and suggestions about the behaviour and expectations of being a member of the group.

When someone asks to join the group, they have to agree to abide by the group rules if their membership is approved. This means that they agreeing to abide by a standard of behaviour, which helps your new member understand your group culture and also helps you manage issues if they arise by coming back to the rules they have agreed to.

To set up group rules for your group, go into your group and scroll down the group administration bar and click on “Group Rules”.

Then click on “Get Started”.

From there you will be able to populate template rules easily from the four suggestions they have or create your own.

The template rule options and their pre-populated content are:

  • Be kind and courteous – We’re all in this together to create a welcoming environment. Let’s treat everyone with respect. Healthy debates are natural, but kindness is required.
  • No hate speech or bullying – Make sure everyone feels safe. Bullying of any kind isn’t allowed, and degrading comments about things like race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or identity will not be tolerated.
  • No promotions or spam – Give more than you take in this group. Self-promotion, spam and irrelevant links aren’t allowed.
  • Respect everyone’s privacy – Being part of this group requires mutual trust. Authentic, expressive discussions make groups great, but may also be sensitive and private. What’s shared in the group should stay in the group.

If you’re not sure what you want to have in your group rules yet, the templates are a good place to start and you can always change things around and create your own in the future as your group evolves.

Something you will want to think about in considering what rules to include is how you want your members to engage in the group.

For example, some groups don’t allow memes in their group as they are a low quality variety of post that can take away attention and engagement on what the group really wants to focus on. Other groups do allow memes, but only on certain days so that it doesn’t crowd out other, higher value content but members still have an outlet to express themselves in this way.

Some other things to consider for your group rules are:

  • Whether you need to discourage “baiting” posts in the group and private messaging other members without their permission
  • Whether you allow members to go live in the group
  • Whether politics and religion are allowed topics
  • If you allow members to promote themselves in some way, what boundaries you want to provide around that
  • Whether you allow link posts
  • Whether members can ask for technical support in the group or should go elsewhere for that
  • Whether promotion and discussion of competing products is allowed
  • If robust discussion is welcome and encouraged in your group, whether you need to encourage members to take a break if they start feeling angry

Whatever rules you decide to include, make sure you frame them positively and concisely. You do not want your group members to feel antagonised or condescended to by the language you use in your rules.

Membership Questions

Vetting new members helps to make sure you have people who are going to be a good fit joining your group.

Unfortunately there are some bad actors out there who don’t intend to engage authentically in the group. Then there will simply be people who are not a match for your intended purpose.

You can vet new members by adding Membership Questions. These are up to 3 questions that must be answered, and which you can review the answers of before deciding whether to accept their membership into the group.

The questions you create can require either a check box, multiple choice or a written answer.

You might want to ask why they are joining  and require they check a box that they have read the group rules and description.

If your group has a business purpose, you could also include a market research question that helps you with future content ideas.

I always advise businesses to make one of the questions and invitation to receive a free opt-in asking the prospective new member to leave their email address if they would like to receive it.

To set up Membership Questions, go into your group and scroll down the group administration bar and click on “Membership Questions”.

Then click on “Create” and follow the wizard to add the templates, or create your own.

Proactive Practices

Empowering Members

A great way to prevent problems from occurring is teaching and empowering your members.

When new members are accepted into the group, post a “welcome post” inviting them to introduce themselves and helping them to navigate where to find the group rules and resources.

You could even use the Guides feature in Facebook groups to easily collate helpful information for new members, of have posts pinned as “Announcements” at the top of the group feed.

Another way to empower members is by teaching how to report posts that are against the rules or concern them in some way so that admin can step in.

Members can report posts they are concerned about to admin by clicking on the three dots next to the post in question and selecting “Report to admin”.

Admins of the group will then receive a notification and can also view reported posts under “Member Reported Posts” in the group admin toolbar.

You can also empower your members by including the group rules and how to engage in the group (including post reporting) as announcement posts in the group, or by setting up a guide in the group collating all the relevant posts.

Post Curation

Facebook groups have a range of options for you to curate incoming posts from members. These options vary in the how widely they apply and how automatic or manual the review process is.

Admin Assist is a fully automated option where you set up conditions in advance that triggers actions to decline incoming and published posts if your preset conditions are met.

It is a fantastic way to streamline many moderation functions while you sleep. This will really benefit groups that have a large global audience posting at all hours, and groups that have a large amount of members and posts per day.

To make it easier still, there are templates for you that you can edit and activate under 7 moderation objectives.

Here are the 7 moderation objectives and the conditions you can activate under each one:

Spam posts – Keep your group free of unwanted posts and other forms of spam

  • Post has certain keywords
  • Author does not have a profile picture
  • Post has fewer than 10 characters
  • Post has links to specific sites

Posts from fake accounts – Ensure posts in your group are from legitimate accounts

  • Author does not have a profile picture
  • Author has had their Facebook account for X months or less (default 1 month)

Posts that violate group rules – Make sure posts adhere to group rules

  • Author has had their Facebook account for X month or less (default 1 month)
  • Author has violated group rules in the past 28 days
  • Post has reshared content from outside the group

Posts with profanity – Keep posts in your group free of profanity and other keywords

  • Author has been reported X times or more in the past 28 days (default 3 times)
  • Post has fewer than 10 characters

Posts based on author’s activity  – Limit participation for those who have previously violated rules or had posts declined

  • Author has not had 100% of posts approved or published in the past 28 days
  • Author has violated group rules in the past 28 days

Posts with reshared content – Limit resharing to encourage original posts in your group

  • Post has reshared content from outside the group
  • Post has a link

Posts with media – Limit photos, videos and other media to only allow text posts to be shared

  • Post has X photo or more (default 1 photo)
  • Post has a video
  • Post has a link

When you set up an Admin Assist condition you can also set it up to give automatic feedback to the poster as to why their post was declined so that they understand how to post in future.

You can find Admin Assist in the group admin tools.

If you decide to utilise Admin Assist, remember to also have the principles of the behaviour you want to discourage reflected in your Group Rules.

For example, if you don’t allow profanity and create an Admin Assist condition that weeds out posts with profanity, you should also make it clear that profanity isn’t allowed in a Group Rule.

. ThPost Approval

Switching on post approval allows you to manually curate member submitted posts and decline those that don’t fit with your group’s purpose or guidelines.

Submitted posts are sent to a holding area for you to approve, in which case they go through to be posted in the group, or delete.

There are two kinds of post approval:

  • Group level post approval – found through your group settings, you can switch on post approval for the whole group so that every post is vetted before being published in the group.
  • Member level post approval – by visiting a member’s profile through the group, you can switch on post approval for specific members.

While group level post approval gives you a high level of control over what is posted in the group, it also can be time consuming to moderate if you have a large volume of posts coming through. It is most often used for groups with a highly specific purpose to ensure the content serves the purpose of the group.

It can be a great feature for groups that have full time moderators who can ensure that there doesn’t end up being a backlog of posts waiting to be published.

I would advise any business-owned groups to think very carefully about whether post approval is really necessary in their group. It is tempting to want to exert control over “your space”, but it is also the most heavy handed option available to curate and control content.

An unintended consequence of any form of over-moderating is suppressing engagement. It also sends a message that you don’t trust your members to post appropriately. If you are having a lot of problems with inappropriate posts these could be addressed in the group rules and with proactive regular education instead.

For most groups, it’s better to focus on building trust and belonging among your members and have a clear purpose and guidelines to guide interaction among members.

One instance where group level post approval may be appropriate as a temporary measure is after a crisis or conflict in a group where you may want to restrict discussion of the conflict in order for the group to cool off and move on.

On the other end of the post approval scale is member level post approval (where an individual’s posts are reviewed before publishing, rather than the whole group). It is a measure you can use where one or a small number of members are posting inappropriate or agitating content. Using this tool would be at the high end of an escalation response to a situation or conflict and you should try and resolve the situation using responsive practices as outlined below first.

Responsive Practices

We hope that things won’t go sideways … but sometimes they will – even if we’ve taken all the preventative and proactive measures we can.

When you need a higher level of intervention, there is a suite of tools available to you including:


Turning off comments

When a post is not adding any value to the group or starting to break into argument or conflict you can intervene in the conversation by turning comments off to allow the participants to cool off.

It’s a good idea to comment on the post explaining why you’re turning off the comments before you do so – it’s doesn’t have to be a long explanation, it could just be that the post isn’t adding value to the group.

You can turn off comments by clicking the 3 dots on the post in question and clicking “Turn off comments”.

Muting members

Muting a member means that when they visit your group they will not be able to participate by posting, commenting, reacting or entering rooms for a set period of time.

To a mute a member, go into your group and click on their name on a post or comment or search for their name in the members area. Click through to their profile and click on the 3 dots. This gives the option to mute the member for a set amount of time (among other options).

Limit activity

You can restrict how frequently a member can post or comment. If you are having this difficulty with a member, you may wish to enter dialogue with them on private message to discuss how to appropriately interact in the group. You can click the 3 dots next to the author to select this option.

Remove content and block

Click the 3 dots on a post or comment to see the option to remove the post and block the content author.

Remove posts, comments and members

Sometimes the best option is simply to remove the offending content or member if is clear they are approaching your group with an incompatible attitude or agenda.

Putting It All Together

As you can see, Facebook has a LOT of tools available to make life managing and moderating your Facebook group as easy as possible.

But just because there are a lot of options, doesn’t mean you need to use them all – especially the responsive ones.

If you’re using a lot of responsive tools you may be over-controlling the group. The real problem might actually be that the group has outgrown a single moderator and you need to grow your moderation team.

The other reason you might be using a lot of responsive tools would be if you are under-utilising preventative practices, for example, you don’t have group rules. If it’s a longstanding, highly-engaged group, you may wish to invite some of your longest serving members to work with you to create group rules so that you have group buy in on the culture you want to promote.

Now that you have a detailed overview of Facebook group moderation, the next step is to identify whether you need to change up anything you’re doing for your group.

Review what you already have and see where you need to make changes, use past situations as inspiration for behaviours you want to encourage or discourage, and move forward moderating your group with confidence!