Facebook bars content claiming to name Trump impeachment whistleblower

Nellie Chapman
November 11, 2019

According to the Washington Post, Facebook on Wednesday removed ads that named someone identified as the whistleblower. Last year, after former Cambridge Analytica employee Christopher Wylie came forward with allegations his employer illegally harvested data from the platform under Facebook's nose, he received a swift ban.

President Donald Trump has pushed for the release of the whistleblower's name, but U.S. officials and many media outlets have refrained from printing it.

Contrasting the moves by Facebook and YouTube, in a statement to the Associated Press, Twitter maintained that it would allow posts featuring the name in question, arguing they do not violate its policies regarding "personally identifiable information".

Social media giant says affordability and internet access hinder chances of increase. Responding to the issue, Owens called the whistleblower a treasonous spy with deep ties to the Democrats. Days earlier, the President himself called for the anonymous United States official to be unmasked. However, the company said it was also removing identifying posts on the whistleblower from Breitbart.

This comes after whistleblower's lawyer on Thursday warned that revealing the identity of the whistleblower will put him at risk following Trump's repeated call for publication of the whistleblower's name.

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The company said Friday that mention of the potential whistleblower's name violates Facebook's 'coordinating harm policy, ' which prohibits material that could out a 'witness, informant, or activist'. Twitter policy permits "sharing information that is publicly available elsewhere, in a non-abusive manner".

Responding to the buzz around Donald Trump Jr. and Owen's tweets, Twitter defended its decision to allow the sharing of the Central Intelligence Agency officer's name, despite acknowledgment that such tweets might violate Twitter's policies. But on Wednesday - before Facebook said it would remove the ads - they said social media platforms have an ethical responsibility to protect "those who lawfully expose suspected government wrongdoing".

"Although whistleblowers enjoy protections under a federal law created to encourage government employees to report wrongdoing without fear of retaliation, Heidi Kitrosser, a law professor at the University of Minnesota, said those protections would not prohibit private individuals from seeking to unmask a whistleblower".

Conservative news site Breitbart was first to notice the take downs after sharing articles on Facebook containing the whistleblower's alleged name.

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