Facebook on Friday stated that it will be removing posts containing the potential whistleblower's identity whose complaint led to US President Donald Trump's impeachment probe. "Any mention of the potential whistleblower's name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content 'outing of witness, informant, or activist,'" a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
"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 debate," the statement further read.
While the company's policy is not new, the statement came days after a Washington Post article pointed out paid ads containing the alleged whistleblower's identity was viewed several hundred thousand times. The ads were taken down by Facebook on Wednesday following the newspaper's probe.
Youtube also stated that the videos mentioning the whistleblower's name will be removed, according to CNN. A combination of machine learning and human review will be used to remove content which is stated to affect the titles, description of the videos and the actual content.
However, despite Twitter's statement that said "personally identifiable information about any individual, including the alleged whistleblower" is prohibited from sharing, several posts containing the whistleblower's name were reported to be circulating on Friday. The issue is pertaining to the company's policy in which an individual's name is not considered personal information.
According to US whistleblower laws, the identity of the complainant is handled with utmost significance so as to protect the identity and career in allegations against severe misconduct by government officials.
'Meet my accuser'
Trump himself has avoided identifying the whistleblower by the name of the official who leaked information regarding the contentious July 25 phone call between US President and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensk, due to confidentiality pledged under the federal law place to prevent personal retaliation upon the whistleblower. He, however, has challenged the law and had called for the whistleblower to be outed, saying he has a right to "meet my accuser."
However, several conservative news articles and tweets carrying the name had already been circulating since October 3 after Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr retweeted a Breitbart news article which carried the name of the alleged whistleblower. Within 24-hours of the retweet, the name of the CIA officer was mentioned in more than 150,000 tweets, according to the Post.
The circulation of the name has been flagged by several whistleblower advocates including the attorney of the alleged whistleblower, Andrew P Bakaj who stated that social media sites have the responsibility to protect as it puts the individuals and their family at risk of serious harm."
The House has passed the legality of the Democratic-led impeachment enquiry against Trump for seeking personal help from the Ukrainian President to investigate former Vice President and 2020 presidential campaign rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter.