Conservative movements to reopen business will face greater censorship after one of the world’s largest internet companies announced a crackdown against supportive messages shared on its online platform.
Facebook has confirmed it will judge the credibility of, and take action against, users who post information that appears to support protests against extreme social-distancing measures to help contain the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus pandemic.
Founding CEO Mark Zuckerberg vowed to crack down on what he called damaging and deceptive content that encourages users to safely and responsibly urge state legislatures to reverse economic restrictions.
“We do classify that as harmful misinformation and we take that down,” he told ABC’s “Good Morning America” in a video shared on YouTube.
Zuckerberg made the remarks despite appearing to be fully aware of the First Amendment’s constitutional guarantee not to prohibit the “free exercise” or “abridging” of free speech. He defended his decision to decide what views Facebook users are allowed or not allowed to express by explaining these were extraordinary times.
“At the same time, you know, it is important that people can debate policies so there is a line on this but for the normal political discourse,” he said. “A lot of the stuff that people are saying that is false around a health emergency like this can be classified as harmful misinformation.”
Zuckerberg showed a screenshot of an offending post about the origin of the CCP Virus that Facebook’s science feedback team had flagged with a blue “fact check” tag. The Facebook explained the content in the post was incorrect.
“The primary claims in this information are factually inaccurate,” the post said according to Zuckerberg “False. Multiple scientific studies have indicated that the virus has a natural origin, not the result of human engineering.”
A Facebook spokesman revealed that state authorities in California, Nebraska, and New Jersey had asked Facebook to remove information about any planned protests.
Michigan Conservative Coalition recently mobilized hundreds of motorists to join an Operation Gridlock protest against Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s latest social-distancing measures.
They created bumper-to-bumper traffic along West Saginaw Street, Martin Luther King Boulevard, West Ottawa Street, West Allegan Street, South Walnut Street, and South Capitol Avenue in downtown Lansing.
“Michiganders are fed up,” the coalition said in a statement. “Our governor and her allies are infecting all of us with their radical, progressive agenda. There is no reasoned and public plan to promote our overall physical and economic health.”
The backlash came after Whitmer recently ordered all residents to stay at home, and strictly prohibited visiting family members and friends unless they provide care. Any gatherings regardless of size or family relationship are also banned until at least the beginning of May.
Organizers have released a code of conduct for all demonstrators to follow, including remaining inside of their vehicles, communicating with CB radio on channel 15, not blocking any emergency vehicles, and limiting consumption of liquids to avoid restroom breaks.
President Donald Trump recently supported the right to peacefully protest against any issue, including social-distancing measures.
“These are people expressing their views,” the president told a press conference. “They seem to be very responsible people to me but they have been treated a little bit rough [by Democrats and mainstream media.]”