Facebook is censoring anti-lockdown protesters who are organizing rallies that encourage state governments to reopen their economies.
The social media giant believes the posts are violating government health guidelines during the coronavirus crisis and exhorting citizens to flout social distancing rules, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Donald Trump, Jr. tweeted Monday that the Facebook directive is “very dangerous.
“Why is @Facebook colluding with state governments to quash peoples free speech? Regardless of what you think about the lockdowns or the protests against them, this is a chilling & disturbing government directed shutdown of peoples 1st Amendment rights. Very dangerous!”
Why is @Facebook colluding with state governments to quash peoples free speech?
Regardless of what you think about the lockdowns or the protests against them, this is a chilling & disturbing government directed shutdown of peoples 1st Amendment rights. Very dangerous! https://t.co/rnG09TSVhI
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) April 20, 2020
Facebook is technically not banning material relating to the anti-lockdown forces but for any demonstration that violates social distancing guidelines. However, it is also refusing to post information about unverified COVID-19 treatments or any statements that discourage people from obeying government directives during the pandemic, The Journal noted.
Demonstrators demanded Thursday in Richmond, Virginia, that the governor reopen their state. That protest followed others in Michigan, Kentucky and North Carolina that were aimed at reversing stay-at-home orders that many see as a violation of basic civil liberties. (RELATED: ‘I Wasn’t Thinking Of The Bill Of Rights’: New Jersey Gov. Responds To Tucker’s Question About Social Distancing Order)
The protests have spawned a myriad of Facebook groups that aim to share news about the demonstrations and keep supporters informed. All are concerned that state and local governments are using the coronavirus crisis to promote restrictions on basic freedoms. (RELATED: Governor Says He Tried To Call Trump, Pence To Find Out What ‘Liberate Minnesota’ Means)
Facebook has censored information about anti-lockdown protests planned in California, New Jersey and Nebraska.
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” Facebook told the Journal in a statement. “For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”