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Facebook ends censorship of searches for “Kyle Rittenhouse”

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Facebook has reversed a policy implemented in August 2020, which banned searches of Kyle Rittenhouse. The company did not say why it reversed the policy.

On August 25, 2020, Kyle Rittenhouse shot and killed two people and injured one during riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Some condemned Rittenhouse and considered him a “dangerous vigilante.” Others saw him as a hero who was protecting businesses from rioters and was acting in self-defense – to which a jury unanimously agreed.

The story and the ensuing debate were trending on social platforms. Facebook opted for censorship of Rittenhouse’s name, making it difficult for people to see the true facts about the case.

Facebook’s Director of Dangerous Organizations and Individuals team Brian Fishman said that the company had deemed the incident a mass murder so it removed the accounts of Rittenhouse on Facebook and Instagram.

The company also “blocked searches of his name” and “per standard practice in these situations,” removed “praise and support of the shooter.”

On November 19, Rittenhouse was acquitted of all charges, including one count of attempted first-degree homicide and two counts of first-degree homicide.

In a statement, Facebook has confirmed that it had reversed the policy on banning Rittenhouse searches but it refused to provide more details.

Rittenhouse is currently considering defamation lawsuits against those he feels falsely maligned his character.

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