The aim of Facebook groups is that of bringing together people who share the same common interests, those who are looking for a particular service, or even those who desire a place to air their views and trade experiences and opinions. However at times, instead of learning and sharing, group members end up arguing and even quarreling, escalating a simple discussion into a war of words.

Facebook groups can have different privacy settings. They can be ‘Public’, which means that anyone can join, see the content of the group’s posts, as well as the identity of the other members. A Facebook group can also be ‘Closed’, meaning that although anyone is able to request for membership, only members are able to view group posts. Lastly, Facebook groups can also be ‘Secret’, which means that only invited members are able to see the name of the group itself, as well as become members, and only current and former members are able to see any posts or feedback. These settings are in place in order to control and monitor members whose behaviour may be of detriment to the group or who may be going off-course with regards to the group’s aim.

There are a number of Maltese Facebook groups which, apart from being very informative, helpful and amusing, can also serve to gauge public opinion, trends and interests. The best of these unfortunately tend to be controversial at times, since extreme opinions or ambivalent issues, tend to influence and touch a remarkably huge number of people. Since there are as many different opinions, as there are individuals, it is no wonder that sometimes arguments get so heated.



The Salott (RUBS)

Not to be confused with ‘Is-Salott’, which is a totally different Facebook group, The Salott (RUBS), which has been particularly active these past few years, even being at times featured in local media, is a ‘Closed’ community featuring almost 50,000 members. These are encouraged to share their views and opinions on local happenings, as well as ask for suggestions regarding local services and information if needed. Posts range from criticism of local products, to questions regarding health, suggestions on how the country could improve its road infrastructure, and even general moans on the hardships of life. Arguments can indeed get quite heated, at times degenerating even to personal name calling and trolling, before the Moderators close or even delete a particular thread. Needless be said, even if you have nothing to contribute, reading and following certain threads and opinions is entertaining in and of itself.

RUBS Are You Being Served – The Original

Another Closed Facebook group which has inspired many other ‘Copy-Cat’ groups (hence the emphasis on ‘The Original’ in the title), this group is affiliated with The Salott (RUBS) and boasts almost 75,000 members. Although the aim of the group per se is to share experiences, write reviews, and ask about particular local services, restaurants and shops as consumers, again most posts often turn into political debates and arguments. The owner of the page, and its sister community The Salott (RUBS) often ends up trying to curb such deviations. There are dozens of offshoot RUBS pages focusing on a number of issues. Among these are the popular RUBS Travel, RUBS Talkies (where people talk about movies and T.V programmes), and RUBS Puppy Love.

Women for Women Malta

Originally called Women for Women, this group was mysteriously deleted from Facebook last year, due to the fact that someone reported its violation of Facebook’s terms of use. Undaunted, the owner of the first community, immediately set up another group – the present Women for Women Malta. This Closed group aims at giving women a voice and encouraging its members to discuss gender equality and in particular create awareness regarding issues and injustices which still exist in this day and age. Some issues can be pretty sensitive or personal, and members who do not feel comfortable airing their experiences in more varied and open groups, are instead free to do so in this restricted, yet popular community. Women’s rights are discussed, as well as issues such as health, pregnancy, the morning after pill (which was introduced in Malta only last year), domestic abuse, and other current debates.

Malta Diżastru Totali

This Public Group is well-known for its sarcastic ‘in your face’ posts, tongue in cheek comments and honest presentation of those quirks, mistakes, and downright foolish attitudes which make up a large part of the Maltese ethos. Posts range from videos revealing dumb driving, to information on political gaffes, to the sharing of local jokes. It is a very entertaining and honest portrayal of the Maltese lifestyle. If you are easily offended however, be aware that anything shared should be taken with a pinch of salt.