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    Facebook Bans Organization of Lockdown Protests Prohibited by Government Order

    Facebook Bans Organization of Lockdown Protests Prohibited by Government Order

    “Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook”

    Lockdown protests are popping up all over the country. Often used as an organizational tool for grassroots activity, Facebook is prohibiting the use of its platform to organize events or get togethers that defy government orders.

    That said, not all lockdown protests are disallowed from organizing on Facebook. Only those that directly defy social distancing and shelter in place orders.

    Reason has more:

    Facebook will remove coronavirus-related misinformation that directly threatens imminent harm, CEO Mark Zuckerberg told ABC News. But contrary to several media reports, Facebook is not taking action against all lockdown protests that are being organized on the site.

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

    This is slightly but critically different from what was reported by The Hill, which made it sound like Zuckerberg had endorsed some kind of blanket ban on anti-lockdown activism:

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Monday told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that protests against stay-at-home orders organized through his social media site qualify as “harmful misinformation” and are taken down.

    …At the behest of state governments, Facebook has indeed taken action against some anti-quarantine protests being organized on the site. But that’s because those events were being organized in direct violation of state social distancing dictates, Facebook saysIt matters what each state’s guidance has been, and it matters whether the event in question is urging participants to take appropriate precautions.

    That’s markedly different from the idea that all opposition to the lockdowns is being treated as harmful misinformation.

    …which is noticeably different from how Politico chose to cover this issue:

    I mean…

    Anyway, Don Jr. jumped into the story, criticizing Facebook for working with state and local governments:

    [Insert diatribe about Facebook being private enterprise than operate as they wish and also the chilling effect of massive speech platforms actively working with the government to quell the right of assembly.]


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    FortesFortunaJuvat | April 21, 2020 at 10:43 am

    There are alternatives to zuckbook. If you’re still on zuckbook, then you’re part of the problem. If you’re an organizer go to another social media site and let people know where you’re at. Organize from there. Guaranteed the site will thank you.

      BierceAmbrose in reply to FortesFortunaJuvat. | April 21, 2020 at 8:51 pm

      And then there’s “Net Neutrality”, a vaguely-defined proposal for content-based traffic shaping.

      How is that “neutral?”

      How is that “neutral” when the foundational protocols under the internet are, in fact, content and origin neutral? (You have to do work to preference one thing or another. And it doesn’t last as they find a work-around.)

      Anybody believe that had “Net Neutrality” been enacted, somehow the promulgaters of WrongThink would be getting throttled? Or that The Zuck is doing this because he’s in some sense in bed with the political overlords, like a good Oligarch should be?

      (Nice content-neutral platform you have there. Would be a shame if you were held accountable for stuff people post there. Might happen — there’s a revision to that part of the telco act in committee right now. BTW, have you seen this protest organizing stuff going on…)

    daniel_ream | April 21, 2020 at 11:16 am

    [Insert diatribe about how the Internet consists of more than four web sites and the fact that soi-disant conservatives don’t understand that is why the left is winning the social media war]

    No government can prohibit 1A protests against tyranny. None. So Facebook has to allow the posts to remain up.

      FortesFortunaJuvat in reply to Dave. | April 21, 2020 at 3:04 pm

      fb is a business, not a government agency. It has every right to control the content on its platform. If it wishes to delete such content it is wholly within its rights to do so. If it wishes to ban people publishing that content it is wholly within its rights to do so. There are only a few options open to those who object to fb’s actions: 1) stop using fb; 2) start using an alternative; 3) quit using social media completely; 4) sue (good luck with that choice).

        BierceAmbrose in reply to FortesFortunaJuvat. | April 21, 2020 at 9:04 pm

        FB, and the other platforms, casts itself a public utility and neutral service one day, and a publisher and source of content the next.

        Their actual “services” really do divide pretty cleanly between the two. The place for oversight is really: You wanna be a carrier, here are the rules. As typical of the Valley folk, they want the advantages of several alternatives all at once, and don’t see why they have to do more than declare what they are to make it so.

        In general I dislike new law. Too much patronage; too many side-effects; too much opportunity for graft. Even so, I am drifting reluctantly toward some sort of legal limitation on being in several kinds of business at once. Micro$oft demonstrated (continued by Amazon & Google) that as abused as they can be, perhaps anti-monopoly laws & enforcement really is better than the alternative. Similarly I’m coming around on the notion of some kind of “What business are you in?” enforcement.

        Perhaps if you want to be a platform, a publisher, and a content curator, on any given issue you are subject to the *most restrictive* regulation and oversight among the three. Perhaps even the burden is also on you to demonstrate that you are not in some particular kind of business.

        Facebook — so horrible they make a knee-jerk Libertarian advocate for government intervention in the economy.

      Milhouse in reply to Dave. | April 21, 2020 at 9:51 pm

      No government can prohibit 1A protests against tyranny. None.

      Not quite true. No government can prohibit protests because they’re protests. But governments can subject protests to the same, viewpoint-neutral, restrictions on time, place, and manner that apply to all similar gatherings.

      So Facebook has to allow the posts to remain up.

      Facebook, as a private entity, doesn’t have to allow anything. But even if they were a government entity they would not have to allow organizing an illegal event. They would have to allow discussion about such an event, but not anything that directly facilitated it. Imagine that instead of an illegal rally the topic was a robbery; do you think Facebook, once it became aware of it, would have to let people use its platform to conspire to knock over a bank?

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