Facebook and YouTube scrub the Trump whistle-blowers name

Platform News: fake news, political bias, section 230 and misinformation on social media

US platform players Facebook and YouTube have declared that they have removed content that mentioned the potential name of the whistle-blower whose complaint sparked an impeachment probe by Democrat politicians into President Donald Trump.

A spokesman for Facebook stated, “Any mention of the potential whistle-blower’s name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content ‘outing of witness, informant, or activist.”

The Facebook spokesperson continued, “we are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistle-blower’s name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.”

A spokesman for Alphabet’s YouTube business also said content mentioning the potential whistle-blower’s name would also be removed from its platform. The spokesperson also stated that the business would use a combination of human review and machine learning (ML) to first find and then scrub the content from the platform. The removals, would affect the title and description metadata of videos as well as the video’s actual audio visual content.

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However, not all of the major platforms were following suit. A spokesperson for Twitter said simply tweeting the person’s name was not a violation of its platform rules.

Whilst it is inevitable that the name of the whistle-blower will become publicly known, lawyers for the whistle-blower have said that any/all organisations that publish a potential name risk placing the person and their family “at risk of serious harm.”

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