Facebook bans events that violate social distancing orders
Facebook has banned lists of events that violate the government’s social distancing policies.
On Monday, the social media giant removed the list for anti-quarantine protests in California, New Jersey and Nebraska.
The discussion sparked outrage from some, including President Donald Trump’s son, who said the company’s move violated free speech.
Protests have been planned in the United States demanding the revocation of house orders.
Facebook said it had consulted with local governments and would only eliminate events that violated state guidelines.
“Unless the government forbids the event during this period, we allow it to be organized on Facebook. For the same reason, events that challenge government guidance on social distancing are not allowed on Facebook,” said a spokesman.
In-person protests have been conducted or planned in several U.S. states to persuade local governments to lift blockade measures.
Hundreds of protesters were outside the Pennsylvania state capital building on Monday. Last week thousands of people violated house orders in Michigan, Minnesota and Virginia.
A Facebook spokesman told CNN that the company was speaking with representatives from New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to determine if the events scheduled for those states were to be removed.
Several prominent Republicans have claimed that Facebook’s decision to remove event lists for new protests has suppressed free speech.
Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the President of the United States, tweeted “Why is @Facebook in collusion with state governments to nullify people’s freedom of speech?”
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, responding to a tweet about Facebook’s decision, wrote: “Why is free speech now illegal in America?”
Facebook has worked to remove false information about Covid-19 from its platforms. The company owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. The aggressive action of the social media giant against false news about the coronavirus has led some to wonder why in the past the company seemed to have problems handling false statements.
Company CEO Mark Zuckerberg was vocal during the pandemic saying Facebook would do everything possible to protect free speech and public health.