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 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 last week told the conservative website SaveJersey.com that her event post for a May 1 protest in Trenton 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.
“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.
Facebook on Tuesday morning did not respond to the Townsquare News Network'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.