Facebook’s ‘extremist content’ warning draws criticism, accusations of ‘going full Stasi’

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Facebook users are receiving a warning that they may have been exposed to “extremist content” as part of the tech giant’s efforts to mitigate the information that is circulated on its network, yet many are comparing the new feature to Orwellian thought policing.

 

Quick Facts

 

 

“Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?” This is the question being posed to Facebook users as the Silicon Valley social media platform implements a new feature that is being slammed by critics as “Orwellian.”

 

“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,” Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Facebook, confirmed. “We are partnering with NGOs [non-governmental organizations] and academic experts in this space and hope to have more to share in the future.”

 

The Redirect Initiative “helps combat violent extremism and dangerous organizations by redirecting hate and violence-related search terms towards resources, education, and outreach groups,” the company explains on its “Counterspeech” webpage. “For example, when people search on Facebook for terms related to white supremacy in the US, results are directed to Life After Hate, an organization founded by former violent extremists that provides crisis intervention, education, support groups, and outreach.”

 

For a social network that has played a major role in serving as a platform for the spread of violent left-wing extremism that has translated into real-life violence, as well as child sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking recruitment, it is odd that this is the example they chose, as Life After Hate is aimed at helping people recover from the “far-right,” a vague term that some might say could be more honestly applied to small-government libertarians than white supremacists.

 

Many warned that this is just another indicator that Facebook is trying to suppress certain types of speech and has gone far beyond the role of a neutral Internet platform with Section 230 liability protection.

 

Conservative commentator Alex Berenson responded by tweeting, “Yeah, I’m becoming an extremist. An anti-@Facebook extremist. ‘Confidential help is available?’ Who do they think they are?”

 

 

He added, “Either they’re a publisher and a political platform legally liable for every bit of content they host, or they need to STAY OUT OF THE WAY. Zuck’s choice.”

 

“Do you want to snitch on your friends, family, and neighbors for wrongthink? Here’s how!” quipped journalist Ian Miles Cheong. “Nice to see Facebook going full Stasi/NKVD. Learning from the former East Germans who now advise leftist ‘anti-extremist’ organizations.”

 

 

Meanwhile, Charlie Kirk, founder and executive director of Turning Point USA, noted, “Facebook groups like Blue Lives Murder and Anti-Fascist News that organize and support violent Antifa riots are allowed to exist without question.”

 

It’s ironic that while Facebook has served as a platform for criminal activity to the point that the Texas Supreme Court recently determined that their Section 230 liability exemptions do not protect them from being sued for facilitating sex trafficking, they seem more interested in preventing the next January 6.

 

Clearly, Facebook cannot be trusted to be unbiased. The company has served as the de facto thought police for the radical left-wing movement by promoting the idea that certain groups, like Silicon Valley tech companies, liberal universities, or federal agencies, can somehow claim to have a monopoly on objective truth, as they apply wildly subjective standards to speech that is considered “hateful” or “harmful.”

 

In short, this is really scary stuff. Facebook has taken liberties upon itself that go far above and beyond simply providing a platform for users to share their thoughts and advertisers to hawk their products. Facebook and other social media giants have crowned themselves as the arbiters of truth and appropriate speech, and it is no understatement to paint them as a sort of corporate version of the Stasi or Orwell’s fictional thought police — and they’ve made it perfectly clear they’ve no intention of forfeiting their throne anytime soon.

 

Congress needs to rein in Big Tech by stripping them of their Section 230 liability protections — and the time to do so is long past.