The following article, Congressional Candidate Finds Loophole Preventing Facebook From Censoring Quarantine Protest Events, was first published on Big League Politics.
Michigan candidate for U.S. Congress Thomas Norton has found a way around Facebook’s new Draconian measures to stop protesters nationwide from organizing against state-level quarantines on the social media platform.
Big League Politics has reported on how Facebook has attempted to stomp out grassroots protests:
Facebook has confirmed that they are working with government officials to suppress rallies in opposition to the economic lockdown in at least three different states.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is using Orwellian double-speak to simultaneously argue in favor of crushing dissent while claiming that debate on the issue is “important” for his social media platform.
“At the same time, it’s important that people can debate policies, so there’s a line on this,” Zuckerberg said to ABC News’ 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.”
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” Facebook spokesperson Andy Stone said to the Washington Post. “For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
Facebook attempted to censor a large protest at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing on Thursday and deleted the initial event page promoting the event.
Norton, who is running for the Republican nomination in Michigan’s 3rd Congressional District, stepped in to intervene. He found a loophole that essentially forces Facebook to keep the event page live.
“I am offering my campaign Facebook page as a platform for dissent. From there you may respectfully voice your opposition. And, more importantly, you may organize. Setup rallies, calls to action, circulate petitions,” Norton wrote.
“Per Facebook’s own rules, in their attempt to respect at least some of our democratic institutions, campaigns have greater leeway in what they can post. If Facebook wants to silence the people, it will not be done in obscurity. They will have to clearly violate the 1st amendment for all to see…including the courts. They will have to silence a campaign. They will have to silence a candidate for Congress,” he added.
Norton is urging other campaigns to take similar measures in order to put Facebook to the test. If they ban the event pages endorsing the protests, they may be subject to electoral interference claims and costly lawsuits.
“We have reached a crossroads here in America. This is nothing new to us: a choice between perceived safety through authoritarian control, and freedom with all its uncertainties,” Norton told Big League Politics. “I believe God uses a crisis like this to call attention to the truly important choices we must make. So that they cannot be idly made for us.”
“It’s time to fight for America!” he added.
The event page can be seen here, and Facebook has left it alone for days. It seems that someone has finally found a way around Zuckerberg’s banhammer, at least temporarily.