MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -- A Facebook Event promoting Friday’s protest of Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” order was removed from the social media giant’s website just a day before the demonstration was set to begin.
A check of the web page Thursday morning returned an error message indicating the content is not available.
The company told NBC15 the event was removed because it did not meet the guidelines it established for anti-stay at home protests. A Facebook spokesperson explained government officials have told them demonstrations are allowed, so long as the protesters abide by social distancing recommendations.
"Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” the spokesperson said. “For this same reason, events that defy government's guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook."
The company requires all protests in states where social distancing is required to include explicitly that social distancing should be followed at the event.
On Monday, CNN reported a Facebook spokesperson told the news channel it would take down Facebook Events that promote such activities in California, New Jersey, and Nebraska. As far as Wisconsin, in addition to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, the company was trying to get answers from the state governments as to whether the protests would be prohibited.
"We reached out to state officials to understand the scope of their orders, not about removing specific protests on Facebook. We remove the posts when gatherings do not follow the health parameters established by the government and are therefore unlawful," Facebook told NBC15 when asked about Friday’s event.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration confirmed a permit requesting an event scheduled for this Friday on Capitol grounds was denied earlier this week. According to the agency, officials made that decision in light of the state’s ‘Safer at Home’ order.
NBC15 has reached out to Facebook to learn if the company removed Friday’s event or if it was removed by the person who created it. This story will be updated once a response arrives.
The CNN report did note that while Facebook is removing events, other types of posts, including Facebook Groups, may not be affected.