Facebook forced to reverse Kyle Rittenhouse ban after branding incident ‘mass murder’

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Facebook forced to reverse Kyle Rittenhouse ban after branding incident ‘mass murder’

FACEBOOK no longer blocks searches on its platform for a US teen acquitted of killing two people during riots in Wisconsin. The company acted qu

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FACEBOOK no longer blocks searches on its platform for a US teen acquitted of killing two people during riots in Wisconsin.

The company acted quickly after Kyle Rittenhouse was charged with the fatal shooting of two people last August at protests over police brutality.

Alamy

Kyle Rittenhouse, 18, was last month found not guilty of fatally shooting two people and[/caption]

Searches for the then-17-year-old’s name showed up blank pages and his Facebook and Instagram profiles were removed.

Last month, the Illinois teen was found not guilty of two counts of homicide and one of attempted homicide after a three-week trial.

Speaking to BBC News, Facebook confirmed on Tuesday that it had reversed the ban on Rittenhouse.

In a Twitter thread shortly after the shooting, Facebook’s Brian Fishman announced that the platform was blocking searches for Rittenhouse.

The then-director of its Dangerous Individuals and Organizations division said the decision was based on an internal investigation.

“We designated the shooting as a mass murder and removed the shooter’s accounts from Facebook & Instagram,” Fishman tweeted.


“Per standard practice in these situations, we are also removing praise and support of the shooter and have also blocked searches of his name on our platforms.”

Other platforms, such as YouTube, had no specific Kyle Rittenhouse policy in place and only blocked content based on existing rules on glorifying violence.

Rittenhouse, 18, allegedly killed two Kenosha residents and wounded another following the shooting of Jacob Blake back in August 2020.

He was seen walking the streets of Wisconsin with an AR-15 weapon in the midst of the protests that erupted.

Rittenhouse was accused of murdering Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, as well as attempting to murder Gaige Grosskreutz.

The teen was initially released on a $2million bond after pleading not guilty, claiming self-defense as the reason behind the shootings.

The long-awaited trial was then delayed on March 10, 2021, and did not start until November 1.

Throughout the three-week trial, jurors saw testimony from multiple people, including Grosskreutz, who testified that he “thought the defendant [Rittenhouse] was an active shooter.”

Asked what was going through his mind as he got closer to Rittenhouse, he said: “That I was going to die.”

On November 10, Rittenhouse then took the stand and sobbed during his testimony, forcing the proceedings to be halted.

The former police youth cadet told the court on the seventh day of his murder trial, that he wanted to safeguard property from the unrest in the wake of Blake’s injury.

While testifying, Rittenhouse suggested he was attacked by Rosenbaum first. He also added that he saw videos of violence being instigated in Kenosha, and felt he was helping to protect the town.

Rittenhouse initially appeared composed as he gave answers in a matter-of-fact tone to questions from defense attorney Mark Richards.

However, he quickly broke his collected appearance when he described the moment Rosenbaum allegedly ran towards him.

Following Rittenhouse’s breakdown, the judge called for a 10-minute break in the testimony. Rittenhouse’s mother was also seen crying in the courtroom.

Nine days later, he was found not guilty of all charges against him and was free to go.

AFP

A day after the shooting, Facebook blocked searches on its platform for Kyle Rittenhouse[/caption]


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