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 coronavirus 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.”