Facebook is testing a new prompt that asks users if they know anyone flirting with a violent ideology, also warning others that they may have been exposed to “extremist” content – an update that many have slammed as Orwellian.
The platform rolled out the new test feature for certain US-based users on Thursday, part of its broader effort to combat “extremism,” according to Facebook spokesman Andy Stone. Baffled netizens quickly shared screenshots of the alerts online, some hinting at the pitfalls of enlisting users to root out so-called extremists.
Two different prompts have circulated, one asking “Are you concerned that someone you know is becoming an extremist?”while the other warns users that they “may have been exposed to harmful extremist content recently.”
“Violent groups try to manipulate your anger and disappointment,” adds the latter missive, exhorting netizens to “take action now to protect yourself and others.”
Some critics cited the move as reason to ditch Facebook for good, with one arguing that the site considers “thinking for yourself” a dangerous form of radicalism.
Another detractor called the new feature a “sinister warning… thinly disguised as a helpful nudge” while conservative journalist Jack Hunter took it as a sign that Facebook itself is “becoming extremist.”