(TMU Op-Ed) — There’s someone you need to know about, but thanks to today’s political climate and the fact that social media is in the pocket of the establishment, we can’t say this person’s name. If we were to actually spell it out for you, chances are you would never see this article and it may risk our very existence on the social media platforms upon which we rely.
It’s a catch-22, but it’s an important issue, so, here we are.
A CIA analyst and former National Security Council staffer who served under both Obama and Trump came forward with his concerns about Donald Trump’s interactions with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, and we are now staring down the barrel of an impeachment inquiry. Chances are you’ve heard a bit about that by now.
As to be expected of a story like this, the person’s name was unsurprisingly making the rounds across various social media platforms and appearing in numerous news articles across the web.
“According to Facebook’s ad library, there are two active and four inactive ad campaigns on the platform that include the man’s name and face. A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that on Wednesday the platform had taken down those ads.”
BuzzFeed reports that the the CIA employee’s lawyers said that “identifying any suspected name for the whistleblower will place that individual and their family at risk of serious harm. We will not confirm or deny any name that is published or promoted by supporters of the president.”
Facebook removed the ads in question and have now announced that the social media giant will be scrubbing any mention of the man who blew the whistle because it somehow violates the platform’s terms of service. Yes, you read that right.
A representative for Facebook explained in a not-so-shocking but nevertheless disappointing statement on Friday:
“Any mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content ‘outing of witness, informant, or activists. 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.”
Facebook says it is removing "any and all mention of the potential whistleblower's name" from its platform. pic.twitter.com/yezibCohT7
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) November 8, 2019
There is a clear double standard when it comes to whistleblowers and the way they are treated by both mainstream media and corporate social media. The fate and treatment of a whistleblower largely lies in the hands of the special interests pulling the strings behind the scenes. And while that may seem like a “conspiracy” to some, one doesn’t have to look far to see how this person, a recent suspected leaker at ABC, Chelsea Manning, and Julian Assange are all being treated quite differently from one another.
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