Facebook says it is deleting the name of the person who has been identified in conservative circles as the whistleblower who triggered a congressional impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s actions.
The company said Friday that mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates Facebook’s “coordinating harm policy,” which prohibits material that could out a “witness, informant, or activist.”
Facebook says it is removing mentions of the whistleblower’s name and will revisit this decision if the name is widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.
U.S. whistleblower laws exist to protect the identity and careers of people who bring forward accusations of wrongdoing by government officials. Lawmakers in both parties have historically backed those protections.
The Associated Press typically does not reveal the identity of whistleblowers.
Several people on Twitter appear to have named the whistleblower in tweets that are still up as of Friday. Twitter did not immediately respond to messages for comment on Friday.
So far, President Donald Trump has avoided identifying the whistleblower by name. Exposing whistleblowers can be dicey, even for a president. For one thing, doing so could be a violation of federal law.
While there’s little chance Trump could face charges, revealing the name could give Democrats more impeachment fodder. It could also prompt a backlash among some Senate Republicans who have long defended whistleblowers.