Earlier this week, Facebook confirmed that it had begun pulling down select COVID-19 protests, citing violations of state-enforced social distancing. The social media giant was attempting a sort of diplomacy, noting that all rallies/protests would be assessed on a case by case basis, and crosschecked with local government.
CNET today noted that Eventbrite has begun taking a similar approach, citing violations of both social distancing policy, as well as its own site guidelines. The news specifically covers a “Freedom” rally set for Ottawa on May 2, which, like a number of recent events across the U.S., is aimed at pushing authorities to reopen business, in spite of nearly universal warnings from healthcare officials.
In a statement offered to TechCrunch, the site is also quick to note that the actions being taken are not new, but rather in accordance with existing rules:
We ticket millions of events a year and strive to ensure our community has a safe and positive experience using Eventbrite. Our Community Guidelines have always prohibited events that promote or contain harmful and/or illegal behavior, and events in locations that violate the current government-issued social distancing and shelter in place mandates during this global pandemic are deemed as such. Our community plays an essential role in reporting any concerning listings or content and when we become aware of content on our platform that’s in violation of our Community Guidelines, we investigate and take appropriate action. The COVID-19 global pandemic is a very dynamic situation, and any action we take will vary based on the local guidelines.
Like Facebook before it, Eventbrite appears to be taking action while attempting to avoid taking sides. The motivation for blocking events that break safety guidelines and could have massive repercussions for public health is clear. Though the current battle being waged by protesters is one that pits economic normalcy against the potential of mass death.