Facebook ends Kyle Rittenhouse search ban

After he shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, language supporting teenager was removed by social platform

The Facebook policy was enacted in August 2020 after the US teenager killed two men and wounded a third during protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake. AP

Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has reversed its policy of blocking searches on its platform for Kyle Rittenhouse.

The company's policy was enacted in August 2020 after the US teenager killed two men and wounded a third during protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

A jury last month acquitted Mr Rittenhouse on five felony charges, including two counts of homicide and one count of attempted homicide.

In announcing the decision last year, Brian Fishman, formerly of the company's Dangerous Individuals and Organisations division, said Mr Rittenhouse's profiles on Facebook and Instagram were both removed after the company labelled the shooting a “mass murder".

The platforms also blocked searches for Mr Rittenhouse as well as comments that included praise or support for him.

In taking the stand during his trial, Mr Rittenhouse argued that he had acted in self-defence in the fatal shootings of Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and the wounding of Gaige Grosskreutz

Some in conservative circles have praised Mr Rittenhouse, calling him a hero for gun rights, while critics argue he is the face of rampant vigilantism.

Josh Hawley, a Republican senator, rebuked Facebook after the verdict last month.

“Big Tech think they’re above the law,” Mr Hawley said in a statement.

“They made up their minds on this case months ago, sought to deny Kyle Rittenhouse the presumption of innocence and censored those who disagreed.”

Mr Rittenhouse has become a key figure among conservatives since his acquittal, appearing on television host Tucker Carlson's Fox News show and the The Charlie Kirk Show podcast.

The teenager also visited Donald Trump at the former president's Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

He said on The Charlie Kirk Show that he is destroying the AR-15 rifle he used during the shootings last year.

“We don't want anything to do with that,” he said.

Updated: December 8th 2021, 8:11 AM