This morning my podcast producer sent me a frantic text that included a screenshot.
Before we move forward it’s important to know a couple of things about my producer.
He is Black. He leans center-right politically. He owns his own broadcast station and welcomes all points of views. On his Facebook page he often hosts chats and threads inviting people of all political stripes to weigh in on issues of the day. He has friends from the left and the right who post and they talk about everything under the sun.
What he is NOT is extreme. In no way, shape or form. He discusses issues and hears people out, but he is an average American running his own business. In no way is this a person I would label as extreme in anything, except perhaps his pursuit of personal success.
So when I received a text from him this morning with this screenshot, I was disturbed to say the least.
“Yo, what the F*** is this??? This just popped up on my Facebook page. What the f***?”
My producer says it popped up twice this very morning.
I immediately posted the image to Twitter and the reaction was swift. Many people responded that they were just seeing the messages for the first time but seeing them repeatedly. Notably they were all people who identify as conservative voters.
As a matter of fact, I just got this a few minutes ago. pic.twitter.com/0tyIs3IbJI
— Joan M Cullen (@JoanieBaloney90) July 1, 2021
Every single time I open the FB app on my iphone it pops up now starting today.
— JJ Boogie (@JJ_Boogie) July 1, 2021
I got the FB warning message too! I’m kinda glad I’m not alone now, also a lot of my friends thought it was a parody. https://t.co/RCePzy3mHK
— Real Jose Galvan (@Jose_Galvan) July 1, 2021
The warning comes with a link to a “support” group called Life After Hate. This group claims to help Americans leave their hateful ideology. And what might that hateful ideology be? If you haven’t already guessed, here is the description on the site’s ‘About’ page:
Our Mission -Life After Hate is committed to helping people leave the violent far-right to connect with humanity and lead compassionate lives.
Our Programs -Our primary goal is to interrupt violence committed in the name of ideological or religious beliefs. We do this through education, interventions, academic research, and outreach.
Is it crazy to believe that there are right-wing hate groups out there who pose some type of danger? No.
What is crazy here is that “extremism” is equated with “right-wing extremism.” There seems to be no option or even descriptions for those “concerned” about left-wing extremism. It’s almost as if it doesn’t exist.
Other Facebook users are receiving messages with dire warnings that they may have been exposed to hateful content.
My friend just got this: pic.twitter.com/gd0fUvJD6C
— Kuhrissuh Kurayyyy (@_KrissaKray_) July 1, 2021
I got this today, pretty sure they’re telling on themselves. pic.twitter.com/8BoyhbfJlX
— Red Zone SEO (@redzoneseo) July 1, 2021
“Let me manipulate you by saying some arbitrary enemy is manipulating you.” The gaslighting is unreal. pic.twitter.com/dIJRuaMHlH
— Jennifer Schoewe (@js_conservative) July 1, 2021
It appears that Facebook may be aiming these messages particularly toward people who are expressing opposition to Critical Race Theory or those who question election results and the nature of the riots on Capitol Hill in January of 2021.
Dave Rubin chose to report Ilhan Omar, AOC and Rashida Tliab.
I just reported AOC, Omar and Tlaib. https://t.co/JTf5qTGIwi
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) July 1, 2021
It isn’t clear if such a move (even if it is just a hilarious troll) will even draw any type of response. Facebook seems to be exclusively concerned with what they label as “right-wing” hate. They are not interested in anything else. The Life After Hate fact sheets seem to indicate that while they started in 2011, unsurprisingly it was the beginning of the Trump administration that ramped up their efforts. Their website frames Charlottesville as the catalyst for overwhelming hate. If one didn’t know the details of what happened there, you would think hundreds of people were slain by the KKK, according to the tone of this site.
We know that Facebook has no intention of recognizing that any view besides the left-wing progressive view has any validity. If you aren’t toeing the left-wing line, you’re a threat.
Ironically (or maybe on purpose), Facebook is creating their own cadre of extremists by encouraging left-of-center users to snitch on family and friends they disagree with. Facebook is making the political right the enemy, and encouraging friends and family to turn on each other for views that have absolutely nothing to do with extremism and simply qualify as differing political opinion.
But in modern America, “extremism” is any view that a liberal doesn’t like.
And that is terrifying.
At the time of publication of this article Facebook had not yet responded to requests for comment.
Seems familiar pic.twitter.com/9HJVwRylfP
— The Partyman (@PartymanRandy) July 1, 2021