Facebook is taking heat for their inadvertent role in the 2016 election. It now appears that Russians were creating pages and sharing stories designed to polarize Americans. And now, the Department of Justice is requesting information on the activities of American citizens it believes are working against the Trump administration.
CNN is reporting that the DOJ has served warrants on Facebook requesting account information for three specific users. If the warrants are obeyed, the DOJ will get account information of thousands who are believed to have participated in anti-Trump protests and riots.
The warrants labels the three users as “anti-administration activists who have spoken out at organized events, and who are generally very critical of this administration’s policies.” The warrants were served in February 2017 along with a gag order that prevented Facebook from alerting the users or the media. That gag order was dropped in September.
“One of those users,” CNN writes, “Emmelia Talarico, operated the disruptj20 page where Inauguration Day protests were organized and discussed; the page was visited by an estimated 6,000 users whose identities the government would have access to if Facebook hands over the information sought in the search warrants. In court filings, Talarico says if her account information was given to the government, officials would have access to her ‘personal passwords, security questions and answers, and credit card information,” plus “the private lists of invitees and attendees to multiple political events sponsored by the page.'”
As of now, Facebook has not responded. Their intentions are unclear.
The American Civil Liberties Union, though, is fighting the warrants.They have filed counter-suits to kill the warrants.
“What is particularly chilling about these warrants is that anti-administration political activists are going to have their political associations and views scrutinized by the very administration they are protesting,” said ACLU attorney Scott Michelman.
“In addition to the account of Talarico and her disruptj20 page,” CNN writes, “the search warrant also seeks all information about the personal accounts of Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour. Carrefour is a self-described political activist and pushed back against the search warrant in court filings, saying that his Facebook account ‘contains a significant amount of private material concerning my personal life.'”