Murphy’s office says NJ did not ask Facebook to remove protest events
A spokeswoman for Gov. Phil Murphy said his office did not ask Facebook to remove a post promoting protests against the stay-at-home executive orders.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone told CNN that event posts for protests in New Jersey, California and Nebraska had been removed because posts that "defy government's guidance on social distancing aren't allowed on Facebook."
“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," Alyana Alfaro, a spokeswoman for the governor's office, told New Jersey 101.5.
The orders shutting down non-essential business as well as parks and events meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 4,400 people in New Jersey and 38,000 nationally. Social distancing is considered the best way to ward off COVID-19, a respiratory illness that's particularly serious among the elderly and adults with other health issues, until a vaccine and effective treatments can be developed.
Angela DeVoe told New Jersey 101.5 that her event post for a May 1 protest planned by the group Open New Jersey was removed by Facebook. Before the event listing was deleted, Facebook added a message saying that "your event goes against our Community Standards on coordinating harm and promoting crime," according to a screenshot posted by SaveJersey.com.
“I could send them an email to reconsider but based upon Mark Zukerberg’s recent comments I don’t think it’s going back up," DeVoe said Tuesday. "The other people in New Jersey who are also standing for this are coming up with other means to be able to share. Email, text, other ways to get the word out amongst like minded individuals that we really need to get this economy rolling because our friends and family are suffering.”
Zuckerberg on ABC’s "Good Morning America" on Monday said that Facebook is working with researchers at the Carnegie Mellon Institute to run a survey of users asking what symptoms they are feeling and to help create interactive maps that could bring supplies to where they are needed most.
Facebook will also monitor for false information and will remove “misinformation,” including pages used to organize protests against social-distancing guidelines, according to Zuckerberg.
"It's important that people can debate policy, so there's a line on this. But, 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,” Zuckerberg said.
Facebook on Tuesday morning did not respond to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.
On Friday, several dozen people in Trenton demonstrated against the pandemic emergency orders. State Police charged Toms River resident Kim Pagan with organizing an event that violated social-distancing rules.
On Monday, a half dozen people gathered near the Statehouse to demonstrate against the rules, calling the pandemic a hoax. according to photo journalist Brian McCarthy.