Think the government’s being too heavy-handed in their coronavirus lockdown?
Well, don’t try to rally people on Facebook.
Facebook has announced that groups organizing public protests against shelter-in-place orders will be banned from Facebook unless they adhere to social-distancing guidelines.
The announcement comes after a raucous weekend, where protesters took to statehouses across the country–demanding state governors end the stay-at-home orders that have gutted the U.S. economy and cost millions of people their jobs.
However, the ban only applies to protests that actively encourage their activists to flout social distancing requirements.
“Unless the government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson said, in an interview with Vice.
“For this same reason, events that defy the government’s guidance on social distance aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
The protests began with “Operation Gridlock”–a car-based protest against Democratic Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has been heavily criticized for draconian restrictions that have included a ban on buying seeds, using a motorboat, or visiting a second home.
Despite the attempts of Facebook–and governors nationwide–to clamp down on protests, they received a strong word of encouragement from President Trump… who urged people to “liberate” their states, in a series of tweets on Saturday morning.
Trump later clarified, in a Sunday evening press briefing, that people should be “allowed to protest,” so long as they were being responsible.
“I watched the protest and they were all six feet apart,” Trump explained. “Some [protesters] have gone too far; some governors have gone too far. Some of the things that have happened are maybe not so appropriate. In the end it won’t matter because we are starting to open up our states and I think they will open up very well. We’ll be watching it closely.”
More than half of this major U.S. city is now unemployed
After a month of coronavirus lockdowns, just 45 percent of people in Los Angeles still have jobs.