Facebook cracked down this week on Splinter News for sharing a link to its article revealing Stephen Miller’s personal cell phone number. According to Facebook’s Community Standards, posting links that contain an individual’s personal information, such as a person’s private cell phone number, can violate the site’s policy to prevent identity theft.
A Facebook spokesperson told the Media Research Center that once the site learned of the Splinter link to its article containing Miller’s phone number, Facebook took action and took down the post “as soon as it was reported.” Splinter is part of the Gizmodo Media Group, which is owned by Univision. Its chairman of the board is top liberal donor Haim Saban.
This controversy played out more actively on other social media. On Wednesday, Twitter also took action against Splinter for posting Miller’s phone number. It also reportedly penalized the accounts of reporters who also linked to the story that included Miller’s phone number.
Section 11 of Facebook’s Community Standards, “Privacy Violations and Image Privacy Rights,” deals with what happens if an individual — or a news organization — decides to share an individual’s private information.
“Privacy and the protection of personal information are fundamentally important values for Facebook. We work hard to keep your account secure and safeguard your personal information in order to protect you from potential physical or financial harm. You should not post personal or confidential information about others without first getting their consent. We also provide people ways to report imagery that they believe to be in violation of their privacy rights,” the policy begins.
The policy outlines what people should not post, including information that “facilitates identity theft” and “[c]ontent that identifies individuals by name and depicts their personal information.”
By posting Miller’s phone number, Splinter violated Facebook’s rule against posting material that can be used to perpetuate identity theft:
Content that facilitates identity theft by sharing the private contact information of others defined as
Private phone numbers or addresses
Email, Messenger, and chat identities
The above information may be shared to promote charitable causes, non-violating services, or to facilitate finding missing people or animals
Interestingly enough, Facebook’s Community Standards actually includes a potential “newsworthiness” loophole for posting an individual’s personal information:
Except in limited cases of newsworthiness, content claimed or confirmed to come from a hacked source, regardless of whether the affected person is a public figure or a private individual.
Facebook’s Community Standards also prohibit people from posting an individual’s driver’s license and other government identification, birth certificate, license plate, neighborhood, and certain photographs of the outside of the residence.