Peer Inside the Secret Groups of Facebook

There are rules, punishments, and lots of loyalty
By Luke Roney,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2016 12:25 PM CDT
Peer Inside the Secret Groups of Facebook
   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

"A constant stream of brutally frank chatter about relationships, work, sex, race, gender, and, yes, cats." That's how Kristen V. Brown, writing for Fusion, describes Girls Night In. The exclusive (and secret) Facebook group comprising some 1,500 LA-area women in their 20s and 30s also is home to "a bizarrely large quantity of nude selfies." But the name of the group isn't really Girls Night In—it changes constantly, Brown writes. Prospective members need recommendations from three women in the group. And once you're in, breaking the rules—say, by sharing something from the group with a nonmember—"will result in expulsion … and public shaming." But Girls Night In is more than just gossip, Brown writes, it's a place to get objective advice, moral support, and real-life help, such as when members raised $20,000 for another member whose house burned down. "It’s an interactive, communal diary, and a support group for womanhood."

That can come at a price, though, Brown writes. Members spend up to six hours a day on the group, which can create "rifts with their best friends and romantic partners." When it comes to secret Facebook groups (they don't show up in search results), Girls Night In isn't alone, writes Alyson Krueger at Forbes. Take, for instance, Lolo's Logic, a group of women who talk sex. Members may be ostensibly "June Cleavers," the founder says. "But in there they are little freaks." Another group caters exclusively to "right-leaning conservatives," who, the founder tells Forbes, “want to post whatever we want without fear of being called racist, bigot or stupid.” Some groups offer support for specific issues, such as drug abuse. No matter a group's theme, the common denominator is that they all have strict internal rules. And LoLo's Logic requires new members to post a topless photo. (A Facebook post earned this man a traffic ticket.)

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