Facebook will remove posts that name the Ukraine whistleblower

The decision comes after the whistleblower’s name had been widely shared on social media and in conservative news articles in recent weeks.
Image: US-POLITICS-FACEBOOK-ZUCKERBERG
Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Oct. 23, 2019.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images file

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By Annie Palmer, CNBC

Facebook announced Friday it will remove from its platform that has any mention of the name of the U.S. official whose whistleblower complaint led to the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson said attempts to unmask the whistleblower violate its policies around coordinating harm, which prohibits content “outing of witness, informant or activist.”

“We are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower’s name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in the debate,” the spokesperson said.

Facebook on Wednesday took down ads naming the whistleblower after critics questioned the company’s ability to enforce its policies. The ads were viewed several hundred thousand times, according to The Washington Post. Facebook’s decision affects all posts on the site, not just ads.

The decision comes after the whistleblower’s name had been widely shared on social media and in conservative news articles in recent weeks. Further attention was drawn to the issue after Trump called for the whistleblower to be unmasked, prompting his son Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday to tweet a link to a Breitbart story naming the whistleblower.

Last week, the House passed a resolution to forge ahead with the impeachment inquiry into whether Trump solicited help from Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.