Early in the day on April 20, CNN activist Donie O’Sullivan tweeted out that Facebook “removed promotion of anti-quarantine events in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska after consultation with state governments”, which was followed by fellow CNN activist Oliver Darcy tweeting out that protest groups “are being removed from the platform on the instruction of governments.” These claims were based on what a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.
As it turned out, this was mostly, if not entirely, false. The phrases “consultation with state governments” and “on the instruction of governments” might make it seem like the governments consulted with or instructed Facebook in regards to removing anit-lockdown protest groups… but they didn’t.
Nebraska’s governor’s office issued the following statement:
The Governor’s Office is not aware of any Facebook events regarding COVID-19 protests, and has not requested Facebook to pull any events down. 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 ten-person limit and Directed Health Measures.
And New Jersey’s governor’s office issued the following statement:
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.
It seems most likely that Facebook alone made the decision to remove certain event pages since the CEO Mark Zuckerberg told ABC that anti-lockdown protests count as “harmful misinformation” and will therefore be taken down.
Later in the day, a Facebook spokesperson told Breitbart:
Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook. For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.