Over 230 protesters were arrested in Washington D.C. on January 20 as President Trump was inaugurated. Many even had their phones taken away. Now, a report claims that D.C. police have asked Facebook to hand over information on the arrestees.
But here’s the interesting part: Facebook has allegedly not kept this request a secret, notifying at least one of the affected users that law enforcement is snooping around his or her data.
“We have received legal process from law enforcement seeking information about your Facebook account,” the social media company wrote the user.
Facebook is within its rights to notify users of law enforcement data requests if there is not a gag order, and more importantly, this heads-up gives users a ten-day period to file a challenge to the data request.
As for why police want to gather this information on protesters, one expert told CityLab that it could help law enforcement track activists to a physical location, like an apartment, and prosecute even more people based on that.
Facebook will almost certainly bend to the will of law enforcement and submit this user data eventually, but the fact that the site tells people about it at all is a huge step forward.