SOUTHFIELD (MICH.) WXYZ — Facebook is taking a stance against some posts that promote anti stay-at-home protests amid states that have social distancing guidelines. The social media giant is removing a stay-at-home protest planned for April 30 in Lansing.
The protest is against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's extended state of emergency request. Facebook tells 7 Action News the post was removed because the protest would have ignored the state's social distancing guidelines. However, organizers say that protest is still going to happen.
"We want Michigan open we want Michigan back to work," said one of the protest organizers Jason Howland.
He added that the protest was planned for April 30 at the Lansing state capitol. Protestors are urging legislators to vote "NO" on the governor's request to extend the emergency declaration.
"We put the event together, we put it on Facebook and we heard that they were taking down events that had to do with protests or rallies against the wishes of Whitmer," Howland said.
He says it’s been a hard and difficult time for many and says it’s been tough not being able to do the things he’s used to doing. He says it’s frustrating knowing Facebook took down his planned protest.
"I’ve spent money on Facebook with ads and things in the past and for them to take down an event that’s totally above board, I feel that’s censorship and it shouldn’t happen," he said.
Facebook says posts like protests in states that ignore social distancing guidelines are not allowed and are against health guidelines. Facebook tells 7 Action News in a statement that, "Unless Government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook. For this same reason, events that defy Government's guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook."
Howland says the purpose of a protest is to gather and voice your opinion against the people you're protesting against.
"If I go to a protest, social distancing and follow the rules created by the people I’m protesting against, I look pretty silly at the end of the day I feel," he said.
Facebook says they understand people may seek to protest the stay-at-home orders, but the company requires people who plan the protest to also follow social distancing and health guidelines.