IN FOCUS: Navigating the perils of Facebook Neighbourhood Groups

After Zucc changed the algorithm to give Facebook back to the unwashed masses we have seen neighbourhood groups consolidate their power. Facebook is theirs again and they rule their cyber kingdoms with an iron fist.

Increasingly, groups are introducing a vetting process to make sure suburban saboteurs aren’t infiltrating their 1500 member groups. To join you’ll have to agree to a set of rules that the admin would ideally want to be carved onto two stone slabs and worshipped.

If that wasn’t enough some even require you to answer some questions about the suburb and what your intentions are by wanting to join the group. Some even require you to keep your location on at all times.

You may be wondering whether this is a FB group or North Korean border checkpoint. However, imagine you were the admin of a Thornlie group and a citizen of Lynwood had snuck in to undermine the glory of Thornlie. How could you possibly sleep at night?

Admins are not only vigilant gatekeepers, they also flex their mod muscles inside the group and delight in wielding the power. Some live in so much fear of their malevolent overlords they will start every post with “Delete if not allowed admin…” Kiss the ring, plebs.

Offending any of their rules is a bad idea but you will be shown no mercy if you “report” a post to Facebook rather than them. This will lead you to be unceremoniously deleted and banished for life. You will never again get to frolic in the gardens of paradise.

Once granted access you will be treated to a type of groundhog day. 80% of the posts will be outdated memes, Google-phobes asking if local businesses are open, pet politics, police helicopters and everyone’s favourite game of “car backfiring or gunshot?”.

At times, it is mind-numbing but patience is rewarded when you stumble across a royal rumble comment section. Perhaps a NIMBY has expressed an outrageously superficial first world problem. Perhaps a bogan has gone full Jack van Tongeren and laid their unpalatable prejudice out for all to see.

Or if you’re lucky, a good ol’ fashion name & shame complete with CCTV or photo evidence. Watch as the who’s who of the K-Mart layby counter threaten each other all afternoon which inevitably leaves you to wonder, “does anyone here actually work?” To which the short and long answer are both: no.

Once you have mastered the humble neighbourhood, you may be ready for the buy/sell NO RULES group. Maybe.

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