Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Social Media, Traditional Media, and the Naming of the Whistleblower

From CNN: Both Facebook and YouTube announced on Friday that they are removing mentions of the whistleblower's name from their platforms, citing concerns that such content could could lead to harm and pointing to their policy prohibiting "outing of witness, informant, or activist." Facebook noted that if the media generally moved toward widespread disclosure of the whistleblower's name, the company might reconsider its decision. YouTube announced it was removing videos that alleged a particular individual was the whistleblower.

However, a Twitter spokesperson said that mentioning a particular person's name as the whistleblower did not constitute a violation of the company's policies. Both CNN and Fox have told their staffs not to speculate about the whistleblower's identity on air. However,  two Fox News guests have identified specific persons as the whistleblower. Lars Larson named someone on November 8,  and Mollie Hemingway named someone on November 11th, to the consternation of Howard Kurtz.

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