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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook and YouTube are blocking references to the alleged identity of the Ukraine whistleblower, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Donald Trump Jr. shared the whistleblower's supposed name on Twitter. President Trump has said the whistleblower's identity "must" be determined after details of their complaint have been examined in an impeachment inquiry.

  • Twitter said it would permit references to the whistleblower on its app, including in posts shared by Trump supporters that include the alleged name and photos.
  • The whistleblower's lawyers sent the White House a "cease and desist" letter this week over Trump's calls for the whistleblower's identity to be made public.

The big picture: Facebook's current political ad policy allows politicians to repeat false claims or misstate an opponent's record or their own. Facebook has already begin removing the whistleblower's name from posts "for a few days," AP reports, and will revisit its decision if the name surfaces in public debate or is circulated in the mainstream media.

Between the lines: Social media platforms are largely left to their own devices when it comes to creating rules on speech and content — allowing for gaps and inconsistencies as they build guidelines where federal and state parameters are lacking.

Go deeper: Facebook, Google weigh changing political ad policies under pressure

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
52 mins ago - Podcasts

Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for retired Gen. Lloyd Austin to lead Pentagon

Defense Secretary nominee Lloyd Austin Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

Amanda Gorman steals the show on Inauguration Day

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

Poet Amanda Gorman by far generated the most average interactions on social media on Inauguration Day, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.