Create and manage external groups in Yammer

Yammer now allows you to create a group that includes external users. This is called an external group. You must create the group as an external group - you cannot change an existing group to be an external group after the fact.

Tip: This content is about new functionality that is still under development. To see what's coming for Yammer, see the Office 365 Roadmap.

The group admin can add external users to the group. In public external groups, other users in the group can suggest that adding an external user, but the admin has control over whether that user is added, and has to approve the addition of the external member. In private external groups, only the admin can add external members, just like in private groups today.

External groups will look different than regular Yammer groups, so you can easily distinguish which groups have external participants. The group header for an external group will show that additional networks are participating in the group, as in the following screenshot.

Screenshot of a Yammer group header, with a globe icon that shows that it is an external group.

And external groups will be included in a separate section in the left navigation, as in the following screenshot.

Screenshot of the Yammer navigation bar showing an External Groups section

Users invited to participate in an external group hosted on a different network will be required to accept the invitation before being able to view any content in the group.

If you do not want to allow external groups in your network, you can opt out of external groups. You use the same methods to opt out of external groups as you use for opting out of allowing external messaging participants. If you already opted out of external messaging, you are automatically opted out for external groups as well.

Create an external group

When you create a group, you can decide if it is an internal or external group. You cannot change this setting after you create the group.

To create an external group

  1. In Yammer, under the list of groups, select Create Group.

    The Create A New Group dialog box opens. If you network allows external groups, you'll see options to create an Internal Group or External Group as in the following screenshot.

    Screenshot showing that you can choose to create an Internal or External group
  2. Select External Group.

  3. Type a name in the Group Name box.

  4. Type the names of people to add to the group in the Group Members box.

  5. Choose whether to make the group public or private.

  6. Choose Create Group.

You can find external groups in your network the same way you find external users. For more information, see Find external messaging participants in a Yammer network.

Opt-out FAQ

Note: Only Yammer Enterprise networks can opt out of external groups.

Q: I don't want External Groups enabled for my network. What options do I have to disable it?

The best way to control external messaging in your Yammer network is by choosing to have your Yammer Network to enforce your Exchange Transport Rules in Yammer. For more details on how this works, please see Control external messaging in a Yammer network with Exchange Transport Rules. If this security functionality is still not sufficient, you also have the option to block users:

  • Block users from creating external groups   You have the option to block your users from creating external groups. This is the same control you use to block external messaging participants. Blocking users in this fashion ensures that content within your Yammer network will not be made visible to external users via external groups. This means that people in your network will not be able to create external groups.

  • Allow inbound external groups only   You can block users from creating external groups in their network, but still allow users to be invited to groups hosted on other networks.

  • Firewall your Yammer network   Separately, you can use a logical firewall to prevent users from creating or joining external groups in Yammer networks, such as partner or customer organizations, hosted in that other Yammer network. However, we highly discourage restricting messaging in this manner because it will cause users to seem difficult to reach and collaborate with, with the Yammer equivalent of having an email bounce, and it will limit engagement within Yammer.

If you don't want to use exchange transport rules to block users and want to opt out using one of these methods, you will need to Contact support.

Q: If I decide to use a firewall to prevent external groups, what functionality will my network not receive?

As we continue innovating Yammer, additional new capabilities are likely to be built as part of the external groups framework. Blocking external sharing and even more so, using a firewall to prevent external messages to your users, will leave some other future Yammer capabilities unavailable to customers. As we continue to work on Yammer, we will be sure to announce which features build on the External Messaging framework so companies know which features they will receive.

Q: Can I use external groups, but not external messaging?

No, if you opt out for external messaging, you cannot opt in for external groups. You opt out or in for both external messaging and external groups at the same time.

Q: Will I be able to create an external group on an external network?

No. Currently the creation of external groups will be limited to canonical networks and is not available on external networks.

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