A recent report claims that Facebook has been spying on the private messages of American users and reporting them to the FBI if they express anti-government sentiments or question the 2020 election.
The New York Post reports that Facebook has been spying on the private messages and data of American users. The company has reportedly been informing the FBI of users that express anti-government or anti-authority sentiments. Sources within the DOJ allege that the company also reported users that questioned the validity of the 2020 election.
As part of an FBI collaboration operation, an employee at Facebook red-flagged private messages containing such sentiments over the past 19 months, transmitting redacted versions to the domestic terrorism operational unit at the FBI headquarters in Washington, DC. This was all done without a subpoena.
One anonymous source stated: “It was done outside the legal process and without probable cause. Facebook provides the FBI with private conversations which are protected by the First Amendment without any subpoena.”
The private messages were shared as “leads” to FBI field offices around the U.S. which then requested subpoenas from the partner U.S. Attorney’s Office in their district to obtain the private conversations they had already been provided with by Facebook.
However, when the Facebook users were investigated, they were not found to be involved in anything criminal or violent. One source stated: “It was a waste of our time.”
All of the Facebook users red-flagged as possible terrorists were “conservative right-wing individuals,” one source said. “They were gun-toting, red-blooded Americans [who were] angry after the election and shooting off their mouths and talking about staging protests. There was nothing criminal, nothing about violence or massacring or assassinating anyone.”
The source continued: “As soon as a subpoena was requested, within an hour, Facebook sent back gigabytes of data and photos. It was ready to go. They were just waiting for that legal process so they could send it.”
Erica Sackin, spokesperson for Communications, Dangerous Organizations and Individuals at Facebook (now known as Meta), denied the allegations, stating:
These claims are false because they reflect a misunderstanding of how our systems protect people from harm and how we engage with law enforcement. We carefully scrutinize all government requests for user information to make sure they’re legally valid and narrowly tailored and we often push back. We respond to legal requests for information in accordance with applicable law and our terms and we provide notice to users whenever permitted.
But in an “updated statement,” Sackin changed her language to say that the claims were “wrong,” not “false.” The adjusted statement reads:
These claims are just wrong. The suggestion we seek out peoples’ private messages for anti-government language or questions about the validity of past elections and then proactively supply those to the FBI is plainly inaccurate and there is zero evidence to support it,” said Sackin, a DC-based crisis response expert who previously worked for Planned Parenthood and “Obama for America” and now leads Facebook’s communications on “counterterrorism and dangerous organizations and individuals.
Read more at the New York Post here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan