If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen the link to FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com. All over the news feeds, people are posting screenshots of their own results. A Huffington Post author writes, “As if the Trump hysteria couldn’t get any worse, there’s now a way to zero in on all your friends (you know, the ones from high school that you only see when you’re in your hometown and get dragged against your will to the local bar?) who have ‘liked’ Donald J. Trump on Facebook.”
When logged-in Facebook users go to FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com, they are able to see which Facebook friends have liked the Republican presidential hopeful’s Facebook page. Facebook allows you to search your friends’ likes section for anything. You can see who likes Democratic candidate for POTUS Bernie Sanders too, if you wish. You can even search for which of your friends like tattoos or Ben & Jerry’s. Unlike with tattoos and Ben & Jerry’s, vast amounts of people are searching their friends lists for people to oust from their lives on account of the fact that their friends “like” Donald Trump’s Facebook page.
A BuzzFeed article encourages a purge based on this one Facebook “like.” All across Facebook, many users obliged. Of course, not everyone who clicked the like button on Trump’s Facebook page actually wants him to be president or even likes him.
Unfriending your friendswholikeTrump is funny and all, but assumes FB likes are, you know, ACTUAL likes. FriendswholikeNickelback, OTOH….
— Kristen Rudd (@kristenrudd) December 11, 2015
FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com is a gimmick website. It was created on December 8 amid the Trump immigration hysteria. It simply redirects you to your own search function. Basically, you type “FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com” into your browser’s URL field instead of typing “My friends who like Donald J. Trump” into your Facebook search bar.
“You can achieve the same goal by simply typing in to the top bar on Facebook,” a Business Insider author wrote of the redirect.
FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com is not going to shed accurate light on who all of your racist friends are, and your racist friends who have their likes section set to private will not show up at all. A Business Insider author at least reminds people that before they oust people from their lives that they’ve known for years, they should be aware that FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com isn’t all-telling or even accurate at weeding out the alleged bigots.
“Now, this tool won’t tell you which of your friends ‘like’ Donald Trump ironically. For instance, I’m pretty sure that my friend who also likes ‘Palestine Legal,’ described in its own words as ‘an independent organization dedicated to protecting the civil and constitutional rights of people in the US who speak out for Palestinian freedom,’ isn’t actually a Trump supporter.”
This website has brought out another bad side of people on social media. Finger pointing posts have ranged from Trump-haters pressuring their friends to “dump Trump or get dumped” to actual screenshots of the results of their own FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com inquiry posted publicly to shame the people who seemingly support Trump.
— HuffPostUKTech (@HuffPostUKTech) December 10, 2015
“The Donald Trump frenzy has hit a new high (or low?) with a new website called FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com,” an ABC writer explained. “It’s important to note that just because someone likes a page, it doesn’t necessarily mean they support the candidate — they may just want to know what they’ve been up to on the campaign trail. Or in the case of Trump, maybe they just liked ‘The Apprentice.'”
Afterall, even Huffington Post (until recently) covered Trump’s campaign under its entertainment section. What’s disturbing is that we are so caught up in our emotions, many of us didn’t stop to consider that our friends who liked Trump’s Facebook page might not actually be bigoted, anti-Muslim racists. In this fight we are having amongst ourselves, even a social media interest can get us blacklisted. Many have compared Trump’s anti-Muslim declarations to be on par with McCarthyism. Named after U.S. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy, who sought to expose and eliminate Communists in America, it’s also known as “the practice of making unfair allegations or using unfair investigative techniques, especially in order to restrict dissent or political criticism.”
Many believe that Islam is the target of the new Red Scare and will become the new target of a modern McCarthyism. Though George Takei seems even more accurate in comparing Donald Trump’s immigration plans to Japanese-American internment camps.
— E. Pluribus Wiggum (@EPluribusWiggum) December 3, 2015
McCarthy used hearsay and intimidation and pointed fingers at anyone he considered disloyal to the U.S. and encouraged all Americans to do the same.
Earlier, during the Red Scare, thousands of Americans felt the effects of the hysteria when they were accused of being communist sympathizers, with little more evidence of being un-American than an assumption like FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com brings to the table. These people ended up fired from their jobs and outcasts among their friends and family.
According to History, “While a small number of the accused may have been aspiring revolutionaries, most others were the victims of false allegations or had done nothing more than exercise their democratic right to join a political party.”
While Facebook shaming and unfriending doesn’t usually have major consequences, sometimes it does. The point is, the fallout from FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com demonstrates very clearly that McCarthy-like tactics can be used by almost any group against almost anyone.
— Scott Nicholson (@scott_nicholson) November 25, 2015
People are publicly shaming their “friends” in screenshots over a click of a mouse that might not even represent their friends’ actual beliefs. That Facebook like might have been forgotten about years ago. Still others might back Trump, in spite of his scandalous immigration statements and repeated disregard for most of the world, because Trump might be an advocate for another issue that is critically important to them. People vote based on one favored issue all the time. Furthermore, while even the White House considers Trump’s latest antics offensive enough to disqualify him from ever being president, not everyone keeps up on trending news and not everyone who shows up in a FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com investigation even realized what he said or that a petition on the U.K. Parliament’s website (signed by over 100,000 citizens its first day) called for Trump to be banned from entering the country.
“Be advised. If you are on this list (friendswholiketrump.com) and not simply ‘keeping an eye on the opposition,’ then you are at the very least supporting blatant racism. Though I have always tried to keep friendships and politics apart, a line has been drawn,” one Facebook user writes. “I cannot in good conscience condone or stand idly by on this issue. Make your choice. I hope to see fewer names on this list soon.”
Not everyone is relying solely on FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com to determine who stays and who goes from their social network, though. Another Facebook user managed to stay level-headed in the face of FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com.
“For those you are not close to, perceptions of others on Facebook can be much like a dating site – you are often only presented with the information that people want you to see and, social animals that we are, we unconsciously make up ‘stories’ to fill in the gaps – with our own desires, biases and preconceptions.
“As I’ve said many times, it’s a great mistake to make assumptions about people’s lives viewed through the lens of Facebook – they are most usually wrong.
“So if you click the link in this story, don’t necessarily assume that the person is a Trump supporter. By that definition you’d be amazed at the number of truly wacky things I ‘support’. For some, it can just be a way of keeping track of something, rather than any identification with the individual, group or cause in question.”
Tell the truth in the comments section below, did you dump a bunch of friends after visiting FriendsWhoLikeTrump.com without considering that they might not even actually like Donald Trump or that they might like Trump for a reason you are unaware of that is critically important to them? If so, are you having second thoughts, or are you glad to have them gone regardless?
[Image via Pixabay]