Facebook’s backlash over new ‘extremist content’ alerts

Recently released warnings by Facebook about “extremist content” have sparked a backlash from those who are concerned that the alerts represent a social media crackdown on politically disadvantaged speech.

Facebook’s pop-up campaign, launched on Thursday, includes messages telling some users that they have “recently been exposed to harmful extremist content” and asking if they “are concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist”, in both cases by linking to a “Get Support” Page.

“Violent groups try to manipulate your anger and disappointment. You can take steps now to protect yourself and others, ”the notice says.

Those concerned about Facebook’s latest effort to counter “misinformation” include Republican lawmakers like Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, who said she received an alert on her page.

“Facebook just warned me that I may have been targeted for extremist content and asked me to inform anyone I know that you are becoming extremist,” Ms Boebert tweeted. “I have more than 200 coworkers that I must report.”

Others, including Rep. Thomas Massie, Republican of Kentucky, attacked the tech giant by adding sarcastic frames to their Facebook profile photos with the message “Exposing friends to extremist content.”

Massie said Facebook “ran out of posts to show me after they leaked my friends’ content on vaccine reactions, alternative Covid treatments, election investigations, and extremist patriotic programming.

“One of my moderate Democrat friends told me a long time ago, when there were moderate Democrats, ‘The definition of extremist is someone who is completely consistent,’” Massie tweeted. “I am pleading guilty to the Facebook charges this week.”

Other critics responded by accusing Facebook of acting as the “Ministry of Truth” and “thought police”, or of creating tongue-in-cheek Facebook pages with names like “That is extremely harmful content.”

“I am very concerned that some left-wing technocrats are creating an Orwellian environment in which people are arbitrarily silenced or banned for saying something the ‘thought police’ dislike,” tweeted Del. Nick Freitas, Republican of the state of Virginia.

Rep. Ken Buck, Republican of Colorado, tweeted: “Big tech is acting like Big Brother.”

Facebook described the pop-ups as a test under its Redirection Initiative, which “helps combat violent extremism and dangerous organizations by redirecting search terms related to hate and violence to resources, education and outreach groups. that can help ”.

“This test is part of our broader work to assess ways to provide resources and support to people on Facebook who may have interacted with or been exposed to extremist content, or may know someone who is at risk,” he told Reuters a Facebook spokesperson. “We are partnering with NGOs and academic experts in this space and hope to have more to share in the future.”

Clinton’s accuser, Juanita Broaddrick, criticized Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for a warning she said she received about being “exposed to extremist content” for sharing a post from the satirical site Babylon Bee on Fox News host Tucker. Carlson.

“Hey, Zuckerberg …… This is ignorant. This came after I posted Babylon Bee’s tweet about Tucker. What the hell??” Ms. Broaddrick wrote on Facebook.

The Babylon Bee post shared by Ms Broaddrick was titled, “We at the NSA are not spying on you,” insists a muffled voice from Tucker Carlson’s toaster.

Not surprisingly, Babylon Bee chimed in with a post titled: “Facebook warns anyone who attends the July 4 fireworks that they may have been exposed to extremist activity.”

Alex Berenson, author of the series “Unreported Truths About COVID-19,” shared a message from a Facebook follower saying that his post on teacher unions: “It is time to withdraw our tax dollars from the system and pay a fee for teachers ”- triggered an alert.

“Yes, I am becoming an extremist. An anti @ Facebook extremist, ”Mr. Berenson tweeted. “Who do they think they are? Either they are a legally responsible publisher and political platform for every content they host, or they must KEEP OUT OF THE WAY. Zuck’s choice. “

In May, Facebook launched a campaign to “take stronger action against people who share misinformation on Facebook.”

“Whether it’s false or misleading content about COVID-19 and vaccines, climate change, elections or other topics, we make sure that fewer people see misinformation in our apps,” Facebook said in a May 26 post.

The Washington Times has reached out to Facebook for comment.

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