Facebook Closed and Secret Group vs Private: What's the Difference

Mehvish

You must have received a notification from Facebook informing you about the changes to your group privacy settings. If you had a secret or closed group, you must be wondering why is it private now? And what does a private group mean? All your questions regarding the new group privacy settings will be answered in this post.

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Facebook groups are becoming popular day by day. They are a mini social network of its present inside Facebook. Each group is different than the other. You can find people similar to you in these groups based on their habits, location, likings, and more.

Privacy plays an important role in a group. Here you will get to know the difference between the existing and new Facebook group privacy settings.

Let’s check it out.

What Are New Group Privacy Settings

In an attempt to simplify group settings, Facebook recently renamed its group privacy settings. Earlier, there were three privacy settings for groups — public, closed, and secret. Now there are only two — public and private. In addition to renaming privacy settings, Facebook has introduced a new visibility setting. It applies to private groups only. You can choose between visible and hidden in this new setting.

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What Happens When Facebook Changed the Privacy Settings

When the new privacy changes apply to your group, Facebook will automatically assign it to the right privacy settings. That is, if your group was public, it would remain public. If your group was closed, it would become private, with the visibility setting set to visible. Finally, secret groups will become private as well. However, their visibility setting will be hidden.

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Old Public vs. New Public Group

Nothing has changed for public groups. All their privacy capabilities continue to remain true in the new group settings. That is, anyone can find public groups through search or on the newsfeed. Their content is not limited to the members of the group alone. Instead, it can be seen by anyone without a Facebook account too. Their member list is also public and is visible to anyone on Facebook.

Closed and Secret vs. Private Group

Both the closed and secret groups have been changed to private groups. You must be wondering that both had different privacy features earlier. So what happens to the existing privacy settings such as group visibility, posts visibility, and more?

Similar to the previous privacy settings for closed and secret groups, only the members of the private groups have access to what’s happening inside the group. That is, only they can post in the group and view other posts.

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The thing that separated them was the search visibility. Earlier, closed groups were visible in search, and secret groups were hidden from search. Now, since both are private, it’s the new hide group setting that makes all the difference.

Difference Between Hidden and Visible Groups

If the visibility setting is kept active, then the group will appear in the search results for everyone, including the non-members of the group. And if it is hidden, then only the members of the group can view the group via search. Others will not see the group anywhere, as if it doesn’t exist.

The group’s name and description will be visible to anyone in the case of visible groups. But for hidden groups, only the current, invited, and former members can see it.

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Who Can Join Hidden and Visible Groups

Anyone on Facebook can request to join a visible group. But that’s not possible for hidden groups. An invite needs to be sent from an existing member of the group to other Facebook users so that they can join it. Also, the former members of the group can request to join it.

Who Can See Members and Admins of Group

That depends on both the privacy of the group and its visibility. If your group is public, then everyone can see the group members and its admins, including moderators.

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But if the group is private, then only the current members of the group can view other members. Everyone can see admins and moderators in the case of visible groups. For hidden groups, only the invited members and current members can see group admins and moderators.

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Can a Public Group Be Hidden from Search Results

No. The hide group settings do not apply to public groups as everything about them is visible to people on Facebook. In case you want to hide a public group, you need to convert it into a private group first, as shown below, and then change the visibility settings.

How to Check Privacy of a Group

For that, open the group either on the desktop or mobile apps. You will find the privacy level of the group mentioned below the group name.

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How to Check if Group Is Hidden or Visible

Here’s how to check group visibility.

View Group Visibility on Mobile Apps

For that, open the group. If you are a group member, tap on the group name. You will see the group visibility in the About section.

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If you are a non-member, open the group, and you will see the group visibility in the group description.

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View Group Visibility on PC

If you are a group member, click on About in the left panel of the group. The group visibility will be shown in the group description.

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For non-members, open the group, and you will find the visibility directly under the group description.

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Can Facebook Friends See Your Posts and Comments in Other Groups

If the group is public, then, yes, your Facebook friends will be able to see your comments and posts that you make in that group even if they haven’t joined the group.

On the contrary, your posts and comments aren’t visible to your Facebook friends for private groups (for both hidden and visible categories) unless they are members of the same group.

Things to Keep in Mind While Changing Group Privacy

Before changing the group privacy settings, do take care of these two points.

Time Limit for Changing Group Privacy

You cannot change the privacy of a group daily or even weekly. Facebook limits changing group privacy only once every 28 days. But if you accidentally changed the group privacy, you have 24 hours to change it. Once the time frame is over, you will have to wait for 28 days before you can change it again.

Member Limit for Changing Group Privacy

If your group has fewer than 5000 members, you can change the group privacy from private to public and vice versa anytime.

However, if your private group has more than 5000 members, you cannot change it to the public. You will have to create a new public group. But, you can change the public group to private anytime, for there are no member restrictions.

How to Change Group Privacy and Visibility

The group privacy settings are modifiable by the group admin only. If you are an admin, you can change the privacy and visibility settings of the group.

Change Group Privacy on Mobile Apps

Step 1: Open the group whose privacy settings you want to modify.

Step 2: Tap on the badge icon at the top-right corner and select Group Settings.

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Step 3: Tap on Privacy and Hide Group to modify them.

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Change Group Privacy on Desktop

Step 1: Open the group.

Step 2: Click on the More button and select Edit group settings from the menu.

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Step 3: Scroll down in settings. You will find Privacy and Hide group setting. Change them as per your needs.

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Are People Notified When You Change the Group Privacy Settings

Yes. If you change from public to private or vice versa, all the group members will be notified about the change. However, if you only change the visibility of the group to visible or hidden, then Facebook doesn’t notify the group members.

Manage Groups like a Wizard

As mentioned before, you don't have to change the privacy settings manually. Facebook will take care of it and apply the applicable settings. You will be asked to set the privacy setting only when you are creating a new group. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the group features.

Next up: Want to block someone on Facebook? Know what happens when you block a user on Facebook.

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Mehvish

Written By

Mehvish

Mehvish is a technology enthusiast from Kashmir. A computer engineer by profession, she's always been keen to help when someone finds technology challenging. She keeps to herself and is an introvert. This doesn't stop her from being curious about the world around, especially when it comes to technology.