Coronavirus: Facebook Bans Events That Violate Social Distancing Rules

Novel coronavirus. Image credit: CDCC

Social networking giant Facebook begins removing listings for anti-quarantine protests in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska

Facebook has begun clamping down on events on its platform that would violate governmental social distancing policies.

The clampdown comes as the UK Heath Secretary Matt Hancock on the Tuesday Coronavirus briefing admitted that the disinformation campaigns it has seen about Coronavirus has mostly been seen on social networking platforms.

Social distancing remains in force in many countries around the world, as the Coronavirus pandemic has so far killed 174,547 people globally, according to the latest data from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Protest takedowns

According to Reuters, on Monday Facebook said that it had removed the listing for anti-quarantine protests in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska.

The takedown comes as part of Facebook’s published strategy to tackle limit misinformation about Covid-19.

Facebook said it consulted with local governments and would only take down events that violated states’ guidelines.

“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organised on Facebook. For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

The United States has seen multiple protests in various states, in an effort to convince states to lift their lockdown measures.

Needless to say, these protesters are violating social distancing guidelines.

Free speech

But the decision by Facebook to remove some of these listings organising protests has sparked outrage from some including the son of President Donald Trump.

According to the BBC, Donald Trump Jr., the eldest son of the US President, tweeted “Why is @Facebook colluding with state governments to quash peoples free speech?”

Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri responding to a tweet about Facebook’s decision wrote, “Because free speech is now illegal America?”

Quiz: Think you know all about Facebook?

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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