Conservative Livingston County Facebook group hit with restrictions, leader threatened school board members

Dec 7, 2021 at 2:17 pm
click to enlarge Facebook imposed restrictions on another Facebook page in Michigan. - Shutterstock
Facebook imposed restrictions on another Facebook page in Michigan.

Facebook imposed restrictions and fact-check monitoring on another Michigan-based Moms for Liberty group, and one of its leaders threatened school board members in Brighton.

The Moms for Liberty Livingston County Facebook page routinely spreads conspiracy theories and false information about COVID-19. The group has claimed that vaccines cause people to “shed” the virus and infect other people and that masks and quarantines don’t work. Some members have discouraged others from getting tested and even claimed COVID-19 isn't real.

Facebook removed more than 400 members and temporarily prevented new members from joining, according to the group.

Facebook’s actions come about two weeks after it also restricted the Moms for Liberty Macomb County page.

Jennifer Smith, an administrator for the private group, threatened Brighton Areas School Board of Education trustees on Nov. 22 during a meeting about quarantine protocols.

“We’re coming for you,” Smith said. “Take it as a threat. Call the FBI. I don’t care. You’re all either going to be recalled or we’re coming for you. That’s what’s happening. All of these people, we’re sick of it.”

On the Facebook page, Smith falsely claimed that “the vaxxed are super spreaders.” Research has consistently shown that vaccinated people are less likely to get infected. In fact, in Michigan, 73% of the more than 105,000 people who tested positive for COVID-19 between Oct. 7 and Nov. 5 were not fully vaccinated, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. During the same time period, 76% of the 622 people who died from COVID-19 were unvaccinated.

Katie Deck, a Livingston County parent, said she’s glad Facebook took action against the Moms for Liberty group.

“Concerned parents in Livingston County and across Michigan are grateful to organizations and businesses that crack down on science-deniers who continue to spread dangerous disinformation because their lies are overwhelming our hospitals, shutting down schools and putting lives at risk,” Deck said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to stand up to these anti-science, anti-mask and anti-vaccine provokers, and choose lives over lies. Moms for Liberty and their backers refuse to do their duty as Americans in fighting back against COVID-19, and we applaud everyone who holds these unpatriotic aggressors accountable for putting our fellow Americans at risk of sickness and death.”

Moms for Liberty Inc., a nationwide group with local chapters, receives funds from Conservatives for Good Government, a right-wing Florida political action committee, and groups connected to the Koch brothers. The group also hosts big-dollar fundraisers, including an event on June 15 featuring former Fox News host Megyn Kelly.

Under the new restrictions, posts will be reviewed by fact-checkers, and people who spread misinformation will be barred from commenting. If the lies continue, Facebook may then disable the page.

People who try to join the page also are presented with a message from Facebook that reads, "When it comes to health, everyone wants reliable, up-to-date information. It's important to separate facts from false information and hoaxes. See the latest from health authorities for answers to questions you may have about coronavirus.”

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