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Facebook deletes protests in states with stay-at-home orders

Live Feed: Read the latest international, national and local news related to the coronavirus pandemic.

In this July 30, 2019, file photo, the social media application, Facebook is displayed on Apple’s App Store in Chicago, Ill.
Amr Alfiky, Associated Press

The Deseret News is tracking news related to the pandemic across the United States and around the world. Refresh this feed for live updates throughout the day.

The Social Network thinks thou dost protest too much

4:30 p.m.

Facebook has begun removing safe-at-home protests from its social networking platform in states where the events defy social distancing guidelines. Anti-lockdown events in Nebraska, New Jersey and California have been deleted, Reuters reported.

Company spokesman Andy Stone told Reuters that events can be organized on the social networking platform as long as they are not prohibited by the government. “Events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook,” Stone said.

According to Reuters, Facebook is seeking clarity regarding state orders in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The social media company has not identified the deleted events.

A survey by Pew Research Center earlier this month showed 66% of American adults were worried state governments would lift social distancing restriction too early and 73% thought the worst effects of the coronavirus were still to come.

Collectors have garnished coronavirus checks. Can Treasury stop them?

2:30 p.m.

Patrick Semansky, Associated Press

As Americans started receiving federal stimulus aid directly deposited into their accounts, banks and private debtors began to automatically withdraw that money in restitution for unpaid loans and outstanding debts. Now Treasury is weighing its legal authority to stop the practice, The Washington Post reported.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have said the coronavirus impact payments — intended to support struggling Americans and to stimulate an ailing economy — should be protected from collectors. Estimates suggest that almost a third of the country has outstanding debt, which means millions could see the money disappear before it ever helps.

“I hope Treasury reverses itself immediately, because every day that goes by that people can’t access their money they are wondering how they are going to eat,” Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center, told The Washington Post.

According to The Washington Post, Treasury officials have also said new legislation would be needed to authorize the protect of stimulus payments. Some large banks have vowed not to touch individual impact payments and several banking associations have asked Congress to amend the current stimulus law to stop the practice.

Landlords may be breaking the law to track renters’ stimulus checks

10:45 a.m.

J. David Ake, Associated Press

American taxpayers aren’t the only ones waiting on their coronavirus impact payments. Apparently, some of their landlords are as well.

The IRS’s Get My Payment website is so simple, some landlords are using information gathered in rental applications to illegally check the status of their tenants’ checks, Forbes reported.

Some renters are using social media to post alleged conversations where landlords admit to using identifying information like a social security number to check on a renter’s stimulus payment.

Anybody with an individual’s correct social security number, date of birth, street address and zip code can see if that person qualifies for a stimulus check, and when it will be delivered. That doesn’t mean it’s legal to do so.

“THIS U.S. GOVERNMENT SYSTEM IS FOR AUTHORIZED USE ONLY!,” the Get My Payment website warns. An inquirer must first accept the short terms of service, which includes a notice that unauthorized use is “prohibited and subject to criminal and civil penalties.”

According to Forbes, the use of someone’s identifying information to check the status is not an authorized use of the website, therefore, is illegal.