On Thursday, Facebook users began receiving notices from the social media website informing them that they “may have been exposed to harmful extremist content recently.” Other Facebook users began receiving another notice asking “Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?”
Reporter Brendan Gutenschwager tweeted screenshots of both Facebook notices. “Facebook notifying some users ‘you may have been exposed to harmful extremist content recently’ with a new notice and link for ‘support from experts,'” he wrote.
The first notice says “[Insert user’s name], you may have been exposed to harmful extremist content recently” along with a link to “Get Support.”
Gutenschwager tweeted photos from the “Get Support” link. The link shows the statement “Minorities are destroying the country” and then provides counter-statements such as “Some violent extremist groups wrongly say that for the United States to succeed, its citizens should all be of one culture. However, there are amazing benefits to diversity . . .” and “Hate groups oversimplify problems by blaming them on one group of people. Some groups claim the problem is the immigrants, while others claim it is the jews, the Black community and or another group.”
Gutenscwhager tweeted another statement from the support page, “‘Researchers have shown that peaceful movements are more successful than violent ones at bringing about social change’ Inside the Facebook support page, reminding users that ‘violence is against the law.’”
It was not clear if the users Facebook warned may have been exposed to harmful extremist content were also told what particular content they interacted with that prompted Facebook’s warning action.
Other users received notices asking “Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?”
RedState editor-at-large Kira Davis tweeted that even friends who are not known to engage with idealogue messaging are still receiving these messages in some cases.
Davis tweeted, “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.”
One Twitter user tweeted, “That popped up on my fb after I commented on several conservative posts.”
Just days after the 2020 Presidential election in November, Facebook removed two “Stop the Steal” groups with hundreds of thousands of users gathered in support of then-President Donald Trump’s objections to various election procedures in key swing states. Facebook said, “The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members of the group.”
After demonstrators entered the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, objecting to the 2020 election results, Facebook was one of the social media websites that removed Trump indefinitely.
It is not clear what prompted this latest action by Facebook or how long it has been going.
In recent weeks, President Joe Biden’s administration announced it is working on a plan to enable Americans to report “radicalized” friends and family members to government agencies for the purpose of countering domestic terrorism.