Facebook will no longer limit users from searching for or praising Kyle Rittenhouse, following a court’s acquittal of all charges facing the teenager at the center of a deadly shooting in Kenosha, Wisc., last August.
Though Facebook (FB) will continue to remove posts that glorify the deaths involved in the Kenosha shooting, users will again be able to express support for Rittenhouse, said Andy Stone, a Facebook (FB) spokesman.
“After the verdict in Kenosha we rolled back the restrictions we had in place that limited search results from returning content related to key terms including Kyle Rittenhouse,” Stone said. “While we will still remove content that celebrates the death of the individuals killed in Kenosha, we will no longer remove content containing praise or support of Rittenhouse.”
The decision reverses a policy that Facebook put in place two days after the shooting. At the time, the company described the incident as a “mass murder” and that under “standard practice” the platform would remove praise and support of Rittenhouse and block searches for his name. Users could still discuss Rittenhouse and his trial in neutral or negative tones while the restrictions were in effect.
Asked whether the company regrets its initial characterization of the incident in light of Rittenhouse’s acquittal, Stone declined to comment. Stone also didn’t immediately respond to questions about whether the platform intends to review its policies.
News of the reversal was first reported by the BBC. According to The Washington Post, Rittenhouse will be permitted to rejoin Facebook and other platforms owned by its parent company, Meta.