Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said information about organized protests against stay-at-home orders spread on the platform will be banned as “harmful misinformation.”
Zuckerberg made the remarks in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” with George Stephanopoulos on Monday.
“How do you deal with the fact that Facebook is now being used to organize a lot of these protests to defy social distancing guidelines in states?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“If somebody trying to organize something like that, does that qualify as harmful misinformation?”
“We do classify that as harmful misinformation and we take that down,” Zuckerberg said.
“At the same time, it’s important that people can debate policies, so there’s a line on this, you know, more than normal political discourse. I think a lot of the stuff that people are saying that is false around a health emergency like this can be classified as harmful misinformation.”
A spokesperson for Facebook said the platform will only take down events that violate state social distancing laws.
Protests in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska organized via Facebook have already been banned on the platform.
Anti-quarantine protests being organized through Facebook in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska, are being removed from the platform on the instruction of governments in those three states because it violates stay-at-home orders, Facebook spokesperson @andymstone tells @donie.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 20, 2020
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” the Facebook spokesperson said.
“For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
Americans in several states have rallied in their cars to protest their states’ coronavirus restrictions.
Trump expressed support for the protests, calling on residents in Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia to stand up to their governments for violating their constitutional rights.
“These are people expressing their views,” Trump said on Friday.
“They seem to be very responsible people to me, but they’ve been treated a little bit rough.”