It seems that social networks are taking their own stand on which side they want to be in the upcoming US Presidential elections. The reason behind this is the ongoing impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.

The inquiry's basis is a whistleblower who has allegedly revealed details of the US President's phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asking for information on his rival Joe Biden. While Facebook and YouTube have stopped users from publicising the whistleblower's name. Twitter took no such step to censor political information.

Facebook has stated that mentioning the whistle-blower's name violates rules against "coordinating harm" on the platform.

These actions are the opposite of the stands that both social networks took. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended running political ads on its platform, while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stated that his platform will not run political ads. Zuckerberg has gone on to say that Facebook will not even fact-check political ads.

Now, Facebook has removed ads mentioning the whistleblower's name while Twitter has made no attempts at censoring tweets containing the information.

"Any mention of the potential whistle-blower's name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content 'outing of witness, informant, or activist.' We are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistle-blower's name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in the debate," a Facebook spokesperson told CNN reporter Oliver Darcy.

The whistleblower's name was first revealed in a Breitbart article that was shared by Donald Trump Jr. and then kept repeatedly surfacing in social media posts.

It is also noteworthy that the same social networks have cited free speech concerns and inabilities to monitor content for censoring content from terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Doing this is both Facebook, YouTube and Twitter's discretion as the current US administration has not made any such request. In fact, Trump has pushed for revealing the whistleblower's name.

Facebook faces heat
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has held firm on a policy that exempts political speech and advertising from fact-checking. Photo: AFP / MANDEL NGAN