Critics are lashing Twitter for failing to take a hard line to protect the identity of the whistleblower in the Ukraine impeachment inquiry. Both Facebook and YouTube are scrubbing any mention of the whistleblower’s supposed identity and photo — but not Twitter.
But Twitter said it would allow naming the individual who Trump supporters say is the whistleblower — as well as photos — as long as the information doesn’t include personal contact information. So Twitter has become the go-to platform for vicious attacks on the whistleblower that supporters say could endanger the individual’s safety.
The former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub, asked Saturday why Twitter was failing to suspend accounts of people trying to “get the whistleblower killed by naming the person they think it is.” He added that Twitter will be “largely responsible if anything happens to this person.”
At least one person responding to Shaub said an account was taken down by Twitter after she complained about it. But others said repeated complaints about Twitter accounts naming the suspected whistleblower remain up despite repeated complaints to Twitter.
The cheerleader for the dangerous exposure is President Donald Trump. The White House was sent a “cease and desist” letter by the whistleblower’s attorney Thursday to curb Trump’s comments in order to protect the whistleblower’s identity — and safety.
“I am writing out of deep concern that your client, the President of the United States, is engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger,” Andrew Bakaj warned White House counsel Pat Cipollone. “I am writing to respectfully request that you counsel your client on the legal and ethical peril in which he is placing himself should anyone be physically harmed as a result of his or his surrogates’ behavior.”
As for social media platforms, whistleblower attorneys told The Washington Post that they have an ethical responsibility to protect “those who lawfully expose suspected government wrongdoing.”
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