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July 2, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – Facebook raised many a conservative eyebrow this week by testing a new feature giving some users unprompted warnings about potential “extremism” among their friends, family, and social media contacts.
On Thursday, dozens of users began sharing screenshots of alerts they received bearing messages such as “you may have been exposed to harmful extremist content recently,” “Violent groups try to manipulate your anger and disappointment,” and “Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?”
The alerts contain links to a “support page” directing users to a variety of “resources,” including a group called Life After Hate, which describes its mission as “helping people leave the violent far-right to connect with humanity and lead compassionate lives.”
“This test is part of our larger work to assess ways to provide resources and support to people on Facebook who may have engaged with or were exposed to extremist content, or may know someone who is at risk,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone told CNN.
A search of LAH’s archives yields no statements objecting to the hate, violence, or extremism of left-wing movements such as Black Lives Matter or Antifa, but it does endorse BLM’s premise that America is “designed to have two rule books; where black and brown people can not expect equal treatment under the law.”
Many right-of-center social media users took the occasion to mock and criticize the notices, blasting them as hypocritical, obtrusive, and the latest in Big Tech’s efforts to use “extremism” as a pretext to stigmatize.
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
Turn in your friends for having unpopular opinions! Don’t worry, a panel of wise technocrats will decide if those opinions are indeed “harmful extremism” & put them on a list for the authorities to investigate.
Next up? Reporting unvaccinated kids hiding in your neighbor’s attic
— Jaded Mandarin (@Hollywood_Dave) July 1, 2021
Facebook: Hey you've been exposed to harmful extremist content.
User: Oh no! What content was that?
U: Who did it came fromm
FB: Would you like some help to protect yourself and others?
U: Yes can you tell me what it was th-
FB: This was a test.
— Spike Cohen (@RealSpikeCohen) July 2, 2021
#Facebook I have a long list of leftist extremists that I would love to report to your #FacebookBrownShirts but I doubt that's the extremism you are alluding to…. pic.twitter.com/tIcFkEg39m
— Peter Boykin For US Congress ( NC – 13) (@Boykin4Congress) July 1, 2021
Yeah I know an extremist I'd like to report @Facebook.
His name is Mark Zuckerberg. https://t.co/LHG4sSvyA3
— [email protected]���� (@EricSpracklen) July 1, 2021
Facebook’s new “extremism” warnings illustrate that persistent complaints about the platform’s treatment of conservative users have fallen on deaf ears, and will likely intensify calls for government intervention.
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in May a new law imposing strict limits on social media platforms’ ability to censor political candidates and journalistic enterprises (the law was recently blocked by a liberal judge). Nationally, Sen. Marco Rubio has introduced legislation to impose new limits on tech platforms’ immunity from liability for third-party content, Sen. Mike Lee has endorsed reforming antitrust laws to limit Big Tech’s power, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has suggested social media companies be regulated akin to “common carriers” of information such as phone companies.