Americans protesting their states’ coronavirus lockdown measures won’t be able to organize protests on Facebook any longer, after the Silicon Valley firm declared them “harmful misinformation.”
Speaking to ABC’s George Stephanopoulos on Monday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that anti-lockdown protests organized through his platform are considered “harmful misinformation,” and will be removed by moderators.
“I think a lot of the stuff that people are saying that is false around a health emergency like this can be classified as harmful misinformation,” Zuckerberg added.
— Kyle Drennen (@kjdrennen) April 20, 2020
President Donald Trump has left it up to governors to decide when to lift lockdown measures in their states, but only a handful have eased the coronavirus shutdown. Florida opened some of its beaches on Friday, while South Carolina intends to open some of its shoreside spots this week.
Protests have broken out in states whose governors remain committed to a full lockdown. Citizens in at least 10 states, including Texas, Washington, Michigan and New Hampshire, took to the streets over the weekend to vent their anger at the stay-at-home orders. In some of these states, a handful of gun rights activists led the charge in organizing the events on Facebook, the Washington Post reported on Monday.
Shortly before Zuckerberg’s TV appearance, CNN journalist Donie O’Sullivan reported that Facebook removed anti-quarantine events in California, New Jersey and Nebraska. The protests themselves are not strictly illegal, but the social network reportedly consulted with the state governments before siding with them and removing the posts.
Numerous media outlets cited Facebook as saying that the governors themselves asked for the removal. The spokesman for Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, however, said on Monday afternoon that this was