Menlo Park, CA – Facebook users may have trouble locating facts from the trial of 18-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha County, Wisconsin because users can’t even search for the defendant’s name on the social media platform.
On Wednesday, Rittenhouse took the stand in his own defense.
But at the same time, a search of his full name – Kyle Rittenhouse – yielded the information that “549K people are talking about this” but did not list anything under the search term.
Clicking on the filter links on the navigation bar got users nowhere, because all links lead to a page that read “we didn’t find any results.”
At the same time that Facebook was pretending that the Rittenhouse trial wasn’t happening, The Police Tribune discovered that its sister company, Instagram, was handling it an even stranger way.
Instagram and Facebook are both owned by Meta, which just changed it name from Facebook.
If a user searches Instagram for #kylerittenhouse, the search page just spins forever and won’t produce results, The Police Tribune discovered.
However, #kylerittenhouse #kylerittenhouseisamurderer or #kylerittenhouseisaterrorist, Instagram will quickly take you to a list of posts.
The search blank auto-filled those search terms as suggestions.
Twitter appeared to be functioning normally as the Rittenhouse trial took the top two slots on its list of trending topics and has frequently done so throughout the eight days of trial.
Facebook confirmed to The Verge shortly after the Kenosha riots that it was blocking searches of Kyle Rittenhouse, but claimed it blocked searches for a lot of things including “child exploitation content.”
The company said in an earlier statement that they had already categorized the incident as a “mass murder.”
“We’ve designated this shooting as a mass murder and have removed the shooter’s accounts from Facebook and Instagram,” a Facebook representative said.
Numerous Facebook users have reported trips to “Facebook Jail” for having posted articles and comments in support of Rittenhouse, who fatally shot two men and wounded a third in what he claimed was self-defense during the Jacob Blake riots in Kenosha in August of 2020.
Retired Sacramento County Sheriff’s Deputy Matt Silvey, who runs the “Deputy Matt and Others Who Serve” Facebook page, told The Police Tribune that he has been sent to Facebook jail more than once for posting opinions on the Second Amendment and support for law enforcement.
Silvey was notified that his post supporting Rittenhouse on Nov. 4 had been taken down because it allegedly violated community standards.
He appealed and the post was reinstated.
A day later, he got a second disciplinary notice for violating standards on “dangerous individuals and organizations,” a classification used for terrorist and hate groups. The second notice came with a penalty.
The disciplinary notice said he was prohibited from going live or advertising for 30 days as punishment for the same Rittenhouse post that had already been reinstated.