Facebook Groups are a haven for spammers

And the world's largest social network is doing almost nothing to stop them. It's time to take matters into your own hands.

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As I've noted in the past, Facebook's tools for reporting abusers are notoriously frustrating. You can report a Group or a person for posting "inappropriate content." You can block the person, which doesn't stop the spamming but does keep you from seeing it. Or you can send them a polite (in my case impolite) note asking them to please stop what they are doing.

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Good luck with that last one. I reported this guy and the Share Your Topics Group weeks ago. Nothing has changed.

Meanwhile, I've noticed that open Groups I voluntarily chose to join are now changing their privacy settings from open to closed. I asked one of the administrators why. His answer was simple: Spammers had invaded it.

If you're the administrator of a Facebook Group and you haven't locked it down yet, now would be a good time to do that. It's pretty easy. Go to the Group page, click the settings button in the upper right (the gear icon), and select Edit Group Settings from the drop down menu. From there you can pick exactly how open or closed you want the Group to be, and how much admin control you want over who can join and what they can say.

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A better solution would be for Facebook to change its Groups policies to make them opt in, not opt out, so people can't simply add you to whatever Group they feel like until you leave. Facebook should also make it much easier to report abusers, as Twitter has done. But I don't think Facebook has any interest in solving this problem. In the meantime, we'll remain at the mercy of buffoons like this guy.

Got a question about social media or privacy? TY4NS blogger Dan Tynan may have the answer (and if not, he'll make something up). Follow him on Twitter: @tynanwrites. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-to's, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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