Facebook Shuts Down Group Stories – Effective as of September 26th
Social Media Today reports that Facebook has just announced it’s removing the Group Stories option. The social media mammoth isn’t giving much notice either, the move is effective from 26th September.
The Social Network only recently announced the addition of a multi-contributor Stories option for public figures, and now it’s followed that new feature up by removing 'Group Stories' functionality. That enabled Facebook group members to be a part of a Story that was common to the whole group.
Facebook made the announcement last week: "On September 26th, we will be sunsetting group stories. At that point, no new group stories can be posted, and existing group stories will be deleted. Members and admins can continue to use stories from their personal profile or make a post in the group to share moments from their lives."
The reason for the rather hurried withdrawal of service isn’t completely clear. The feature was only rolled out fully as recently as October 2018, and while the move provided users with added functionality, maintaining groups became harder work for admins. Just before that roll-out, Facebook granted admins the power to mute or block members who spammed or posted irrelevant content in group Stories. They were also given the ability to delete or report any contributions they deemed inappropriate.
As soon as September 26th happens, that’s that. Facebook tells us that archived group Stories will be viewable after the deadline, but users won’t be able to share them. Any admin-queued items will also be deleted at that time. While it seems evident that for admins, the added functionality of group Stories brought a whole bunch of hassle they didn’t want, the dramatic withdrawal of the feature could well point to something else going on behind the scenes. Nobody knows right now, and perhaps we never will know. All we can be sure of is that group Stories is disappearing in a hurry, soon.
The cynics among us may well point to this move as being a sign that everything with Stories is not as rosy as Facebook would have us believe. The figures tend to say different, however – Facebook group Stories is on the rise and it might be a bit of a leap to suggest that the withdrawal of one small element of the feature spells doom. Opening up a group story and permitting various actors to add any content they wished to add could just have been a step too far, given the nature of the internet and the time-consuming nature of moderating and administering a group with an open forum.
It’s worth a heads-up at this point to any of you guys that developed strategies to engage via the group Stories feature. Come Thursday, it will be no more, so you had better get back to the drawing board!