Facebook users are reporting disturbing warning messages that they’ve received from the social media giant asking them to tattle on friends and neighbors who they might identify as “extremists” or flag pieces of “extremist content.”
One message asks users if they are “concerned” that somebody they know might be turning into an “extremist.” Another message says that Facebook cares “about preventing extremism” and offers that others “in your situation” can get “confidential support.”
The message includes a button labeled “Get Support” that takes you to a Facebook page about extremism.
RedState editor Kira Davis had a friend receive one such message twice, and inquired about it on Twitter.
— John Burnett (@IamJohnBurnett) July 1, 2021
Other users are receiving warnings that they have potentially been “exposed to harmful extremist content,” told that violent organizations are attempting to “manipulate your anger and disappointment.” The message includes the same “Get Support” button.
Hey has anyone had this message pop up
on their FB? My friend (who is not an ideologue but hosts lots of competing chatter) got this message twice. He’s very disturbed. pic.twitter.com/LjCMjCvZtS
— Kira (@RealKiraDavis) July 1, 2021
The “Get Support” page is reported to be a generic article about being accepting and avoiding hateful speech or attitudes.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed on July 1 that the social media site is currently running tests on these warnings for some users.
The statement from the spokesperson said that the test was in cooperation with “academic experts” and non-governmental agencies who work in anti-extremism as part of a larger effort to “support” individuals who they identify as having “engaged with or were exposed to” content deemed to be extremist in nature.
The messages timing arrives shortly after lawmakers placed pressure on big tech companies for allowing “extremism,” cyberbullying, and misinformation on their platforms and websites. Social media companies have faced increasing criticism by conservative lawmakers for censorship or outright blocking of content which portrays Democratic political figures in a negative way.
Conservatives such as former President Donald Trump argue that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be revoked, as it currently serves as the shield behind which social media and other online publishers hide. Unfortunately, the movement to reign in big tech’s collective monopoly of information sharing was dealt a blow when a judge threw out a case that accused Facebook of engaging in anti-competitive practices.
These latest warning messages, however, are just further proof that Facebook and sites like it are trying to stifle free speech, particularly speech which damages the political left. We need law and order to govern Big Tech more than ever right now.
Author: Jesse White