Facebook Sends Warning to Some Users About Potentially ‘Extremist’ Friends

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 of the messages reads. “We care about preventing extremism on Facebook. Others in your situation have received confidential support,” it adds before offering the 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.”

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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,” wrote another user on Twitter.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to CNN on Thursday that the social media giant is currently running the warnings as 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,” the spokesperson said.

A spokesperson told the Washington Examiner that when a user clicks the “Get Support” link, it directs them to Life After Hate, which describes itself as a group “committed to helping people leave the violent far-right to connect with humanity and lead compassionate lives. Our vision is a world that allows people to change and contribute to a society without violence.”

It’s unclear if far-left wing content or users who post such content will be flagged by Facebook. The Epoch Times has contacted the company for comment about what content would be flagged.

The messages come after lawmakers have repeatedly targeted and pressured CEOs of Big Tech firms like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Microsoft, essentially accusing them of allowing “extremism,” misinformation, and cyberbullying on their platforms. Simultaneously, they’ve faced criticism from Republicans who accuse the company 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 reign 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 Thursday, many users expressed concern over the direction Facebook is taking.

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