A Facebook spokesperson confirmed on Friday that the platform would ban “any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower’s name,” the latest iteration in an ongoing debate among journalists and activists over the propriety of identifying the intelligence official.
Facebook began taking down articles mentioning the alleged whistleblower on Wednesday, according to a report from Breitbart, and provided a statement saying that “any mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content ‘outing of witness, informant, or activist.’”
The statement also mentions that Facebook will revisit the decison “should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.”
The Trump whistleblower has not yet been confirmed after initial reporting by The New York Times in September stated he was “a C.I.A. officer detailed to the White House at some point,” but multiple outlets have reported on the individual after RealClearInvestigations published an alleged profile on October 30.
The president has repeatedly called for the individual to come forward, prompting a cease-and-desist letter on Friday from the whistleblower’s lawyer to White House.
“Let me be clear: should any harm befall any suspected named whistleblower or their family, the blame will rest squarely with your client,” the letter reads.
Over the last month, Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been at the center of news surrounding political speech on the platform.
On October 17, Zuckerberg defended a policy of allowing political campaigns to run false or misleading advertisements, telling the Washington Post that “I don’t think people want to live in a world where you can only say things that tech companies decide are 100 percent true.”
The move drew internal criticism from Facebook, where an open letter from hundreds of employees condemned the decision as allowing “politicians to weaponize our platform by targeting people who believe that content posted by political figures is trustworthy.”
“We are proud of the work that the integrity teams have done, and we don’t want to see that undermined by policy. Over the coming months, we’ll continue this conversation, and we look forward to working towards solutions together. This is still our company,” the letter closes.
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