Facebook has started blocking users from searching its social network for mentions of Kyle Rittenhouse, a teen facing homicide charges over a deadly shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Searches done on Facebook for mentions of Mr. Rittenhouse’s name yielded zero results despite being plentiful on the platform, Rolling Stone first reported Thursday.
Content referring to Mr. Rittenhouse could still easily be found, however, such as by searching for other terms relevant to Tuesday night’s shooting that left two people dead.
Facebook said in a statement Wednesday that it was designating the shooting as a mass murder and was taking steps to prevent users from praising its perpetrator on its platforms.
The company did not immediately return a message inquiring specifically about limiting searches involving Mr. Rittenhouse.
Mr. Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old Illinois resident, faces multiple counts related to Tuesday evening’s night in Kenosha, approximately 20 miles northeast of his hometown of Antioch.
Protesters had been demonstrating in Kenosha after a city police officer, Rusten Sheskey, shot a Black man, Jacob Blake, several times from behind on Sunday, leaving him paralyzed.
Those protests descended into riots Monday. Mr. Rittenhouse is accused of shooting two people during a chaotic scene the following night that led to him facing homicide charges.
Several videos recorded Tuesday evening captured Mr. Rittenhouse equipped with a long gun before, during and after the deadly shooting. In one, he explained he was protecting a local business in light of looting taking place the previous night; others recorded later showed him being chased by several people, twice, prior to gunfire erupting each time.
Mr. Rittenhouse was arrested Wednesday in his home state and has been charged with related counts of first-degree intentional homicide, reckless homicide, attempted intentional homicide and recklessly endangering safety. He has a court hearing scheduled for Friday to consider extraditing him to Wisconsin where the charges were filed.
Crowdfunding platform GoFundMe said Thursday that it removed campaigns in support of Mr. Rittenhouse’s for violating its terms of service.
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