Reddit will allow the alleged Ukraine whistleblower's name to surface, diverging from Facebook and YouTube

Key Points
  • Reddit is allowing the name of the purported Ukraine whistleblower to remain on its site, though it does not have a "specific policy" on the subject, according to a spokesperson.
  • Twitter also said it would not remove references to the name of the purported whistleblower whose complaint sparked an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
  • Facebook and Google-owned YouTube have both said they would remove references to the supposed name.
Carlos Osorio | Toronto Star | Getty Images

Reddit will allow the name of the purported whistleblower whose complaint sparked an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump to remain on its platform, even after Facebook and Google-owned YouTube said they would remove it.

In a statement, a Reddit spokesperson said the company does not "have a specific policy around whistleblowers. Our policy encourages an open discussion regarding issues of public and political relevance, however it forbids posting of personal information, or the encouragement of harassment or vigilantism." Reddit will take action on posts that violate its policies, the spokesperson added, saying that "[c]ontext is important in these matters."

Reddit has often taken a different approach to content moderation compared to other tech platforms. The company has a policy of "quarantining" forums that violate its policies, and did so with a popular forum for Trump supporters after determining it encouraged violence. The platform's structure encourages users to largely police themselves through moderators for each forum.

Twitter is taking a similarly stance to Reddit. The company has allowed the name and supposed photos of the CIA officer accused of filing the whistleblower complaint about Trump's dealings with Ukraine's president to remain on its platform.

In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said based on the company's private information policy, "any Tweets that include private information about any individual, including the alleged whistleblower, would be in violation of the Twitter Rules." But the name and supposed photo of the alleged whistleblower, "aren't violative of the policy as they aren't considered private information," the spokesperson clarified in a separate statement.

Several news outlets including CNBC have decided to refrain from publishing the name of the purported whistleblower out of safety concerns, unless the person decides to go public.

Last week, Facebook said it would remove the name of the alleged whistleblower from all posts and ads on its site. A spokesperson said at the time Facebook would "revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in the debate." The decision came after Facebook has been criticized for other policies related to its political ads, like its decision not to fact-check or remove false ads.

YouTube has also decided to remove references to the potential whistleblower's name. A spokesperson confirmed YouTube would remove videos that mention the supposed name within the videos and in their titles and descriptions, using a mix of machine learning and human review to identify violators.

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