Facebook and YouTube are removing content that potentially names the anonymous whistleblower who has been identified in conservative circles as the whistleblower who triggered a congressional impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s actions.
Facebook on Friday said 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.”
Facebook says it is removing mentions of the alleged whistleblower’s name and will revisit this decision if the name is widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.
Some of the stories identifying the person came from the conservative news site Breitbart, which Facebook counts as one of its news partners in a newly launched news section on its app. However, the company said it was also removing identifying posts on the whistleblower from Breitbart.
BuzzFeed noted that the person, a former Obama administration staffer and current CIA officer, has been a target for conservative commentators since 2017.
YouTube also confirmed to CNN that it would remove content that mentioned the alleged whistleblower’s name in the title, the description, or the video itself.
On Twitter, though, the alleged whistleblower’s name was circulating widely on Friday.
U.S. whistleblower laws exist to protect the identity and careers of people who bring forward accusations of wrongdoing by government officials.
President Donald Trump has pushed for the release of the whistleblower’s name, but US officials and many media outlets have refrained from printing it.