Facebook allegedly handed over Americans' private concerns about 2020

We already know that when the FBI talks, Mark Zuckerberg listens.  So when the FBI gave him marching orders about Hunter Biden's hard drive, informing Zuckerberg that the drive was fake although the Fibbies already knew otherwise, Zuckerberg promptly shut down any efforts to mention the hard drive.

Sometimes, the FBI didn't even have to ask.  Sources in the DOJ are claiming that someone at the FBI was red-flagging private messages in which people questioned election integrity and handing them to the FBI.

Miranda Devine has the story:

Facebook has been spying on the private messages and data of American users and reporting them to the FBI if they express anti-government or anti-authority sentiments — or question the 2020 election — according to sources within the Department of Justice.

Under the FBI collaboration operation, somebody at Facebook red-flagged these supposedly subversive private messages over the past 19 months and transmitted them in redacted form to the domestic terrorism operational unit at FBI headquarters in Washington, DC, without a subpoena.

"It was done outside the legal process and without probable cause," alleged one of the sources, who spoke on condition of ­anonymity.

"Facebook provides the FBI with private conversations which are protected by the First Amendment without any subpoena."

These private messages then have been farmed out as "leads" to FBI field offices around the country, which subsequently requested subpoenas from the partner US Attorney's Office in their district to officially obtain the private conversations that Facebook already had shown them.

Nothing came of these leads because conservative Americans, unlike leftists, are almost invariably law-abiding.  That's part of what makes them conservative.  As a DOJ source said, the conservatives whose messages Facebook forwarded were talking about protests because they felt that a great wrong had been done.  However, "[t]here was nothing criminal, nothing about violence or massacring or assassinating anyone."

Despite the message's innocence, continues the source, the FBI subpoenaed the information, and Facebook was just waiting for those subpoenas:

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.

Facebook, through Erica Sackin, a spokesperson at Meta, denied the allegations, saying that whenever Facebook interacts with the FBI, it's just to protect people:

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.

In other words, no, we never tipped off the FBI, and we try to protect our users.  It's up to you, of course, whether you believe that.

Later, Sackin updated the statement to assert that "these claims are just wrong," as opposed to "false."  She contended that Facebook doesn't squeal to the FBI, and there is "zero evidence" to support that claim.  (Sackin, incidentally, worked for Planned Parenthood and Obama for America.  That doesn't mean she's lying.  It just means we probably wouldn't enjoy her company.)

Image: Facebook and FBI logos, both public domain.

The FBI, when pressed, went into neither-confirm-nor-deny mode.  However, it managed to bring in "foreign malign influence actors," while admitting that its relationship with all social media outlets is geared toward a "quick exchange" of information and that there's an "ongoing dialogue" between the two.

Devine has much more, so you should read it all.

Currently, we've got allegations and kind of funky denials.  I don't trust either Facebook or the FBI.  When it comes to Big Tech, I stopped posting on Facebook years ago, retaining my account for only three reasons: (1) to see my friends' children grow up and get on with their lives; (2) to see what the leftist friends of my youth are saying; and (3) because I have to.  Despite a couple of tries, Facebook won't send me all my data and close my account.

Rule of thumb: If it's important, think about sending it the old-fashioned way: by mail.  I don't think the government is reading our mail yet.  Everything electronic, though, is fair game for the government or the tech companies, and that's true no matter the laws or self-set rules allegedly governing them.

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