Facebook Sued for ‘Censoring’ Alleged Whistleblower’s Name on Platform

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg closeup
Anthony Quintano/Flickr

Tech giant Facebook is being sued by a user for censoring posts containing the name of “the alleged Ukraine whistle-blower.”

Bloomberg reports that Facebook has been accused of censorship in a lawsuit filed by a user who claims that the firm failed to explain to him why it deleted three of his posts that included the name of the “the alleged Ukraine whistle-blower” who kickstarted the presidential impeachment inquiry.

A law student from Connecticut named Cameron Atkinson stated that he wanted to test whether or not Facebook was blocking posts mentioning the alleged identity of the whistleblower. Atkinson made three status updates, one called the whistleblower a “hero”, another called him a “dirty rat” and a third post that stated that Atkinson had “conflicting thoughts” about the whistleblower. All three posts were removed in a matter of hours according to the lawsuit filed on Tuesday.

The name of the whistleblower has not been mentioned by congressional investigators who cited security concerns for the whistleblower if his name were to be made public. Many mainstream news outlets have also cited similar reasons for not mentioning the name despite his alleged identity being widely used at this point.

Facebook said in a statement: “Any mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content ’outing of witness, informant, or activist. 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.”

Atkinson alleged that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “harbors political ambitions” and his censorship of concerned citizens “is intentional and is inspired by ill-will, malice, and a desire to deflect attention from himself and Facebook’s practice of surreptitiously mining data for profit from consumers who believe they are receiving a free service devoted primarily to their welfare.”

Breitbart News reporter Allum Bokhari gave an in-depth explanation of the attempts to censor the name of the whistleblower in which he states:

In other words, people who want to find out the name of the alleged whistleblower will have no problem doing so. The cat is already out of the bag. Facebook and YouTube’s policy is therefore pointless — it amounts to little more than virtue-signaling to Democrats and the mainstream media, who will still hate them regardless.

Secondly, let’s not pretend that there’s bipartisan agreement that Eric Ciaramella, if he is indeed the source of the Ukraine-Trump story, is in fact a whistleblower rather than a partisan member of the “deep state.” At the very least, he’s a deep-stater as well. 

There are plenty of examples of whistleblowing that aren’t partisan. Unsafe food storage at a grocery store chain. Defective equipment at a military supplier. Bloomberg’s story about Chinese spying devices in the servers of western tech companies and government agencies. The first two stories are hypothetical, but all are examples where Republicans and Democrats would likely have broad agreement that legitimate whistleblowing has taken place.

The Ukraine-Trump affair is not one of those cases. The best that can be said for the Democrats is that they have Never-Trumpers on their side. But that’s a given anyway.

Read the full article here.

The case is Atkinson v. Facebook Inc., 19-cv-01785, U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.