Apr 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

Facebook deletes events for anti-quarantine protests in three states

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook said on Monday that it has deleted events for anti-quarantine protests in Nebraska, New Jersey and California that defied government guidelines, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Facebook has faced calls over the years to better police content shared on its site — which often features misinformation. The platform says it will align with public health officials in supporting stay-at-home orders, which experts argue are essential to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

  • "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," Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said.
  • Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told ABC News Monday that content arguing that social-distancing is ineffective would "classify as harmful misinformation."

Go deeper

24 hours ago - Technology

Social media takes on world leaders

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Social media companies are finally beginning to take action on posts from world leaders that violate their policies, after years of letting them mostly say whatever they wanted unfiltered to millions of people.

Why it matters: Government officials are among the users most likely to abuse the wide reach and minimal regulation of tech platforms. Mounting pressure to stop harmful content from spreading amid the coronavirus pandemic, racial protests and a looming U.S. election has spurred some companies to finally do something about it.

18 hours ago - Technology

Facebook to block ads from state-controlled media entities in the U.S.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Facebook said Thursday it will begin blocking state-controlled media outlets from buying advertising in the U.S. this summer. It's also rolling out a new set of labels to provide users with transparency around ads and posts from state-controlled outlets. Outlets that feel wrongly labeled can appeal the process.

Why it matters: Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook's head of security policy, says the company hasn't seen many examples yet of foreign governments using advertising to promote manipulative content to U.S. users, but that the platform is taking this action out of an abundance of caution ahead of the 2020 election.

Cities are retooling public transit to lure riders back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

After being told for months to stay away from others, the idea of being shoulder to shoulder again in a bus or subway terrifies many people, requiring sweeping changes to public transit systems for the COVID-19 era.

Why it matters: Cities can't come close to resuming normal economic activity until large numbers of people feel comfortable using public transportation.