A Facebook post by the Greater Manchester Police has provoked fury online after telling the public to report anyone “repeating conspiracy theories” or “speaking to people spreading hate”.
The post linked to a police website which said that a desire for political or social change could be a sign that some one was vulnerable to “becoming involved in extremism or terrorism”.
“Online platforms can be a fun world. Unfortunately, they can also be used to exploit vulnerable people. If you are worried that one of your friends or family is showing signs of radicalisation seek advice or call police on 101,” the post said.
It then spelled out behaviour which should prompt a call to police including “repeating conspiracy theories” or “speaking to people spreading hate”.
In the link provided, Greater Manchester Police said that “a desire for political, social or moral change” could be an indicator that someone was “becoming involved in extremism or terrorism”. Other indicators included feelings of grievance and injustice”.
However, the nebulous nature of the perceived wrongdoings have led to some commentators on the post describing the effort as akin to “the thought police” or a “snitches charter”.
“Goodbye democracy and free speech,” wrote one commentator. “I’d like to report Her Majesty’s government,” said another.
“Hello Germany 1942 is that you? ” was one pithy response.
Last year the Humberside police caused concern when they visited a man at his place of work to warn him about allegedly “transphobic” tweets.