More than 1000 essential workers have signed an open letter to Facebook demanding that the social media giant bans any content encouraging people to break lockdown, including protests.
The letter was written by UltraViolet, a US women's organisation, and signed by frontline workers including medical professionals, grocery store workers, delivery drivers, social workers and sanitation workers. It comes after huge anti-quarantine protests in several states made news over the past week.
"As workers in the frontlines of COVID-19, we are disturbed by Facebook's complicity in these protests and their role in reopening states well before shelter-in-place measures have achieved their intended purpose to contain the spread of the virus," the letter reads.
"Until you regulate protests specifically intended to re-open states too early, Facebook is actively endangering nationwide public health and safety, in the midst of a fatal yet avoidable shortage of hospital beds, testing kits, and personal protective equipment."
The letter also says that women are disproportionately at risk from COVID-19 in the US because they make up the majority of essential workers.
"Facebook company's refusal to ban forums that encourage flouting stay-at-home measures actively endangers the lives of women who make up 77 percent of healthcare workers, 78 percent of social workers, and more than two-thirds of grocery store and fast-food employees, all of whom have little choice but to risk exposing themselves to the coronavirus to try to keep the rest of the public safe and cared for while this pandemic lasts."
The United States has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19 with more than 1 million people contracting the virus and 80,653 dying.
Facebook's COVID-19 hub says it is "actively trying to fight false information by helping people share accurate information directly from global health authorities".
"Facebook is working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and national ministries of health to connect people with accurate information and help limit the spread of misinformation.
"We also launched a Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information Center on Facebook with the latest updates and tips from global and local health organizations."
US President Donald Trump is encouraging states to ease lockdown restrictions in an effort to stimulate the crippled economy. This goes against recommendations from health experts, who are advising the US to move cautiously to avoid a resurgence of the virus.