A supposed news site geared toward young Muslims in the U.K. is actually an undercover counter-terrorism program funded by the British government, according to reports. The Facebook page, “Woke,” describes itself as a “diverse social news platform” focusing on “what it means to be Muslim today.”
The Facebook page “Woke,” which at first glance, looks like any other millennial-focused online news platform, is actually part of an undercover counter-terror program funded by the U.K. government, according to a report by CNN. The Facebook page is specifically geared toward British Muslims, publishing short, inspirational videos about a variety of topics pertaining to Muslims.
“Your guide to the most engaging and relevant stories — like us, stay Woke,” reads the “About” section on Woke’s Facebook page. “Stay Woke” refers to U.S. slang describing having a strong sense of social and historical awareness with left-leaning implications.
“WOKE is a diverse social news platform keeping you in the know about issues which matter the most,” continues the Facebook page description, adding that the platform partners with a “forward looking organisation that engages in critical discussions around Muslim identity, tradition and reform to provide a positive vision of what it means to be Muslim today.”
The platform publishes memes, content regarding “Islamophobia,” and videos on veganism, fake news, and modern dating, among other topics. In one video, entitled, “Are We All Becoming Snowflakes?” four young panelists discuss whether people in today’s society are too sensitive.
In another video — which received over 250,000 views — Muslim women describe what it was like the first time they put on “the hijab.” A third video garnering 113,000 views shows a Muslim man who is “on a mission to meet the haters” and meets with a former EDL member, where the two are seen enjoying each other’s company while spending the day with the Muslim’s man family.
The news site Middle East Eye, however, says that Woke was created by a communications agency as part of a U.K. counter-terror program called “Prevent,” according to CNN. The report added that Prevent seeks to “educate the public about the risks of extremism and to identify individuals who seem ‘at risk’ of becoming terrorists, through a variety of public sector work.”
Prevent is reportedly aimed at stopping people from supporting terrorism, or becoming terrorists themselves.
“We are committed to using all of the tools available to counter the threat from terrorism in the UK,” said a spokesperson for the British interior ministry to CNN.
Zinc Network, which was reported to have created Woke created for the British government, told CNN that it is “enormously proud of the work we undertake for our clients — providing support to communities, brands and governments to promote positive social change and tackle some of the most complex issues in the world today is the driving force of our agency.”
The report added that the British government’s Home Office — the ministerial department which developed Prevent — says the counter-terror program does not target any specific demographic, and deals with “all forms of terrorism, including Islamist and extreme right wing.”
“The Prevent program continues to play a vital role in this fight against radicalization and has had a significant impact in stopping people being drawn into terrorism,” said a Home Office spokesperson after being asked about Woke.