Facebook Now Sending Warnings to Some Users About Potentially ‘Extremist’ Friends
1 July, 2021
Some Facebook users have recently reported being sent warning messages from the social media giant relating to “extremists” or “extremist content.”
“Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?” one message reads. “We care about preventing extremism on Facebook. Others in your situation have received confidential support.”
The message also provides a button to “Get Support,” which leads to another Facebook page about extremism.
Redstate editor Kira Davis, who said was sent a screenshot of the message from a friend, wrote: “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.”
And others reported getting a warning that they may have been “exposed to harmful extremist content recently.” The message then states that “violent groups try to manipulate your anger and disappointment,” similarly offering a “Get Support” option.
“Facebook randomly sent me this notice about extremism when I clicked over to the app. Pretty weird. … The Get Support button just goes to a short article asking people not to be hateful,” another user on Twitter wrote.
A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Epoch Times on July 1 that the company is currently running the warnings as a test to some users.
“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. We are partnering with NGOs and academic experts in this space and hope to have more to share in the future,” the spokesperson said, without elaborating.
The messages come after lawmakers have repeatedly targeted and pressured CEOs of big tech firms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft, essentially accusing them of allowing “extremism,” misinformation, and cyberbullying on their platforms. Such social media companies have faced criticism from Republicans who have accused them of censoring conservative voices and limiting the reach—or outright blocking—content that portrays Democrat political figures in a negative light.
Conservatives, including former President Donald Trump, have argued for the revocation of Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act, which serves as a liability shield for online publishers. However, the movement to rein in Big Tech was dealt a blow earlier this week when a federal judge tossed a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit against Facebook that had accused the firm of engaging in anti-competitive practices.
These warning messages, however, are sure to trigger even more negative feedback against Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, over fears that the company is attempting to stifle free speech. On Twitter, as screenshots of the warning messages were being shared en masse on July 1, many users expressed concern over the direction Facebook is taking.