Facebook has announced that software developers are testing new prompts that ask users if they’re worried a friend is “becoming an extremist. On Thursday, multiple Facebook users reported receiving a new notification from the social media giant warning about being exposed to “extremist content.”
The alert message appears on user’s devices as a pop-up notification and displays: “Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?” followed up with the assurance that, “We care about preventing extremism on Facebook. Others in your situation have received confidential support” along with the option to “Get Support.”
The “Get Support” link directed users to a support page that linked to Life After Hate, which was described as “a nonprofit that provides support to anyone who wants to leave hate behind and solve problems in nonviolent ways.”
Here's what Facebook showed me when I typed in the search bar a well-known violent extremist group (left) & a prominent neo-Nazi group (right). Lesser-known neo-Nazi groups (including one tied to terror plots) didn't bring up any messages; far-right anti-gov militias also didn't. pic.twitter.com/aznZ6ln32y
— Christopher Miller (@ChristopherJM) July 2, 2021
Users also claimed to have received a second warning from Facebook, stating, “You may have been exposed to harmful extremist content recently. Violent groups try to manipulate your anger and disappointment. You can take action now to protect yourself and others.”
Fox News spoke with a Facebook representative, and they explained that just like the COVID-19 warnings, the new feature is just a “test.”
“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.”
Another Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed via Twitter that the messages are “part of our ongoing Redirect Initiative work.”
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) July 1, 2021
For the last few years, social media platforms have served as a crucial ally for the federal government, especially when it comes to information about elections and COVID-19. Facebook has specifically been captured censoring information and users who are in opposition to their own political beliefs.
According to a report released in August, Facebook erased 22.5 million postings for hate speech in the second quarter of 2020, up from 9.6 million in the first quarter.
When Facebook was first released into the ether, most users were under the impression that the app would be a free speech platform. Nevertheless, Facebook has gained more power and authority when it comes to censoring users and hasn’t been given any repercussions.