Facebook’s relationship with the FBI has been in the news lately over revelations that the social media giant slowed the spread of controversial content before the 2020 election based on a recommendation from the agency. This partnership is sure to come under even more scrutiny following a ruling in court this week where a judge said it’s OK for the FBI to grab user data from Facebook with no expectation of privacy.
The case involved a man being investigated for storming the Capitol on January 6, 2021. By obtaining his cell phone data, the FBI was able to work backwards and build investigations into suspected insurrectionists like him. From there, the FBI was able to successfully obtain his data from Facebook.
“The FBI requested from Facebook identification information for accounts using its platform to broadcast videos of this highly public event that were live-streamed or uploaded to Facebook while the account user was physically in the U.S. Capitol,” the judge explained in his decision. “Armed with the account identifiers, in the days that followed, the FBI then sought search warrants requiring Facebook to disclose various records and content associated with the accounts that would constitute evidence of specific federal criminal law violations.”
By now, it’s no surprise that Facebook is willing to comply with law enforcement requests. However, it’s notable that this judge is effectively saying that users should have no expectation of privacy for data they voluntarily share with Facebook. This ruling will likely be appealed, but regardless, it’s a good reminder to be very careful what you share on the platform.
Choose what the experts use: award-winning cybersecurity you can trust and rely on.
Surf the web truly incognito. Try Bitdefender Premium VPN, the ultra-fast VPN that keeps your online identity and activities safe from hackers, ISPs and snoops.