Facebook will remove some posts on anti-stay-at-home protests being organized in California, New Jersey and Nebraska after consulting with officials in those states, a company spokesperson told CNN Monday.
The protests run afoul of the states’ social distancing guidelines, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said.
Protests have erupted around the US in recent days as shutdown orders have been extended, just as record numbers of Americans lose their jobs.
Facebook has come under fire as groups organizing anti-stay-at-home protests have popped up all over the platform. Stone said Facebook would take down posts created through the Facebook Events feature that promote events in California, New Jersey and Nebraska. Other Facebook posts, including Facebook groups about the protests, might not be removed.
Alyana Alfaro Post, a spokesperson for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, told CNN that the governor’s office and Facebook had been communicating about the issue but said, “The governor’s office did not ask Facebook to remove pages or posts for events promoting lifting the provisions of the governor’s stay-at-home order.”
One event, which is being promoted on the platform, is due to take place in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on Monday.
A Facebook group for Pennsylvanians against “excessive quarantine” that was set up last week already had more than 66,000 members by Monday morning.
Nebraska’s government was not aware of any specific anti-stay-at-home events and did not request that Facebook remove event pages, according to Taylor Gage, a spokesman for Gov. Pete Ricketts.
“Facebook reached out last week to learn more about Nebraska’s social distancing restrictions, and the governor’s staff provided already publicly available information about Nebraska’s 10-person limit and directed health measures,” Gage said in a statement to CNN.
Stone said Facebook is working to get answers from state governments in Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York as to whether anti-stay-at-home protests are also prohibited under their social distancing guidelines.
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” Stone said. “For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”