Until today, I was a member of a Facebook group called “the BNP are nasty racists and shouldn’t be here” (For non-British readers, the BNP is the UK’s ultra-right wing party). The group was set up a couple of years back to protest against a BNP presence on Facebook and it eventually gained hundreds of members. While casually flicking through my notifications today, I noticed that it had changed its name to “the BNP are nice and should be on here“.
I clicked on the link to find out which joker had changed the name of the group. My boyfriend suspected that Facebook had asked moderators to change its name for some reason. But when I saw the group, I realised that not only had its name changed, but also its description, thus altering its philosophy completely. It now was a pro-BNP group. Worst of all, I was still a member! I promptly left the group (along with many other members) and posted a warning to my Facebook friends via my status update.
Now, you might remember that Facebook didn’t allow even minor changes to group names – and this included corrections to spelling mistakes. Well all that changed on Tuesday and now group moderators can make changes to their group’s name. That seems to be what happened here. So either someone hacked the group, or the person who set up the group intended to do this from the outset.
However this happened, it just shows that some people will go to any length to get right-minded people to support their evil cause. The recent rule changes on Facebook make it possible for moderators to change group names so radically that a group’s whole philosophy can be changed along the way. We could see some moderators set up groups deliberately with the intention of changing their name as soon as it has enough members.
So the moral of this story is regularly check your Facebook notifications and group memberships. Otherwise you could find that you’ve inadvertently signed up to a cause you don’t actually support!