During this time in our nation’s history it is important to heed the government and medical experts’ advice on how to proceed.
From social distancing and staying at home unless you have to travel to washing your hands and not touching your face, this advice could save your life.
But what is not a good idea is for the boot of Big Brother to come slamming down on our heads telling us what we are allowed to read, think or do.
It is one thing to advise people to follow government recommendations or even for a governor or mayor to mandate that people cannot gather and protest for health reasons.
It is another thing entirely for the global public square, Facebook, to decide that you cannot talk about those mandates or organize protests against them.
This is a direct threat to the right to freely assemble, no matter how ill-advised it is.
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” a spokesperson for the social media giant said in a statement.
“For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said his platform was classifying the organization of those protests as “harmful misinformation” and said that the site would “take that down.”
— Kyle Drennen (@kjdrennen) April 20, 2020
“At the same time, it’s important that people can debate policies, so there’s a line on this,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.
“But 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,” he said.
Look, we get it. People should be staying home and doing all the right things to stay healthy.
I’m not advising that you do anything other than follow the government’s guidelines.
But the fine line here, with respect to Zuckerberg, has already been crossed, erased and then doused in gasoline and set on fire.
When the world’s largest social media company says that it will remove information that pertains to forming anti-government protests, we are far into dangerous territory.
What is to stop Facebook, Twitter or any other company, like the Chinese-owned TikTok, from demanding any anti-government protest be removed in the future?
Totalitarianism does not have to start with tanks rolling down your street. It can start with baby steps like this that appear to be born of good intentions.
The slope is slippery and the time to stop it is now.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.