The social network has already removed protest messages in California, New Jersey and Nebraska.
Facebook COO discusses networks block on anti lockdown protest
Facebook is blocking anti quarantine protesters from using the site to organize in person gatherings that violate states‘ stay at home orders – A move that had brought an immediate backlash from conservatives including President Donald Trump‘s eldest son.
The World’s largest social network has removed protest messages in California, New Jersey and Nebraska from its site, a company spokesperson said Monday, after days of rallies across state capitals where protesters – many carrying pro Trump signs – called for an end to the health restrictions.
The spokesperson said Facebook had been instructed by those state governments that the events are prohibited under the lockdown and social distancing orders that authorities have issued in response to the Corona Virus pandemic.
“We reached out to state officials to understand the scope of their orders, not about removing specific protests on Facebook,” A company spokesperson said. “We remove the posts when gatherings do not follow the health parameters established by the government and are therefore unlawful.“
The statement followed confusion over whether states had instructed Facebook to remove the protests from its platform. Earlier Monday, A spokesperson said that “events that defy government‘s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook“ and had been removed following guidance from individual states.
The office of New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy told POLITICO it consulted with the company but did not advise it to remove the protests. A spokesman for Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts said Facebook reached out last week regarding the state’s social distancing policies and was provided with publicly available information.
“The [Nebraska] governor’s office is not aware of any Facebook events regarding COVID 19 protests, and has not requested Facebook to pull any events down,” said spokesman Justin Pinkerman.
Politico, 04/20/2020 11:34 AM EDT, updated 04/20/2020 02:58 PM EDT