As The Verge reported this week, "Facebook is testing prompts that will link users to anti-extremism support and resources if the company believes the user knows someone who could be on the path to extremism, or if the user has been exposed to extremist content themselves."
Facebook says that the tests go along with its Redirect Initiative, which “helps combat violent extremism and dangerous organizations” in several countries. According to its webpage, the program (as the name implies) redirects users to educational resources instead of further hateful content. It also says the test is part of its response to the Christchurch Call for Action campaign, and the test identifies both users who may have seen extremist content, and those who have had enforcement actions taken against them by Facebook in the past.
The test links to resources intended to help someone intervene if they’re concerned about a loved one joining a violent extremist group or movement. On a Facebook support page titled “What can I do to prevent radicalization,” Facebook links to Life After Hate’s ExitUSA program, which Facebook says helps people find “a way out of hate and violence.” The support page also gives tips on engaging with someone who’s trying to leave a hate group.
This naturally has the MAGA-enabling Republicans on Trump-TV up in arms. On this Sunday's Fox & Friends, host Rachel Campos-Duffy and the Heritage Foundation's Kara Frederick attacked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for "betraying" his promise to keep the social network "a free expression platform."
Frederick whined that the counter-terrorism task force at Facebook was now being "turned inward," and used against Americans "who are simply participating in the marketplace of ideas." She called what they're doing "beyond the pale."
"It's very interesting that you bring up that he tried to make a comparison between Facebook and China. It seems like Facebook has taken, has become more like China rather than Facebook setting an example for China," Campos-Duffy replied. "This warning message, it is being used on American citizens. I mean I looked at what they term as an extremist. I think I could fall under that."
This says a lot more about Duffy than it does Facebook, by the way. Frederick called it a "dangerous trend" and accused Facebook of conflating "conservatives with extremists."
"You saw recently released White House strategy for countering domestic terrorism," Frederick warned. "This really lays that groundwork for a more expanded domestic surveillance state with social media at its heart. So it is very important for conservatives to be very vigilant when this happens. It's time for us to act. We have to consider using other platforms. We have to build with every layer of the technology stack in mind, being mindful what happened to Parler and Amazon web services. The lights can be turned out at any time. Diversify your platforms, conservatives. Make sure you're looking at new digital platforms. It is imperative right now."
No mention, naturally, of the January 6th MAGA riot at the Capitol, or that these social media companies have every reason to be concerned about right-wing extremist domestic terrorists using their platforms for recruiting.
Campos-Duffy wrapped things up after reading a statement given to Fox from Facebook by calling the move "ominous," and claiming "we're entering a new world of surveillance and snitch culture." She thanked Frederick for "raising the flag on this," and "giving advice what we need to do as conservatives to change this."
Fox is likely worried about their own content being flagged as well, as they should be.