Facebook began testing a new alert feature asking users, among other things, if they think their friends are becoming extremists, raising concerns among U.S. conservatives on Friday.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone explained on Twitter that it was a social network initiative to combat violent extremism.
According to Facebook, the functions of “Redirect Initiative” aim to direct people using hate or violence related search terms to education or awareness resources or groups.
#SalePute: “On the internet, fearful violence is the privilege of women”
Thus, according to Facebook, research in connection with white supremacy in the United States is directed towards the group Life After Hate which aims to help people to leave the groups of the extreme right, in particular the supremacists.
Catches of alerts shared on Twitter show messages asking users if they fear someone they know has become extremist or if they themselves have been exposed to extremist content.
They then have the option of clicking on a link to “To have help” or close the pop-up.
“Thought police” for some Republicans
“I am very concerned that some leftist technocrats are creating an Orwellian environment where people are arbitrarily silenced or banned for saying something the ‘thought police’ don’t like”, worried Nicholas Freitas, a Republican from Virginia, who shared one of these Facebook alerts on Twitter.
Facebook and other online platforms are under pressure to stop the spread of false information that can lead to violence.
The social network has recently strengthened its automatic tools to help moderators of groups who strive to maintain the civility of the exchanges.
Facebook’s automatic tools check for posts in groups and news feeds that violate the platform’s rules for acceptable content.
In June, Facebook suspended former US President Donald Trump for two years for cheering his supporters on in the Jan.6 attack on the Capitol in Washington.