Trump Justice Dept. Demands Facebook Turn Over Private Info on 6,000 ‘Anti-Administration Activists’

About 6,000 users tied to an anti-Trump Facebook page could have their accounts investigated

Last Updated: September 29, 2017 @ 11:24 AM

The Justice Department has filed three search warrants that would allow it to search the personal information of approximately 6,000 Facebook accounts that “liked” an anti-Donald Trump page, according to court documents obtained by CNN and LawNewz.

The search warrants were first filed in February and focus on three people, including Emmelia Talarico, who runs the “disruptj20” page — which has already been in the crosshairs of the Justice Department for its role in organizing inauguration day protests.

Facebook and the Justice Department did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a motion on Thursday to challenge the warrants, arguing that the investigation threatens the First Amendment if it allows the government to watch anyone deemed to be anti-administration.

The Justice Department would like to obtain the “personal passwords, security questions and answers, and credit card information,” of page visitors, along with “the private lists of invitees and attendees to multiple political events sponsored by the page,” Talarico told CNN.

If the government obtains Talarico’s information, it will have access to about 6,000 users connected to her page.

The disruptj20.org website provided maps, “organizing resources,” and an “organizing fund” for its visitors to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump last January.

“The warrants make no provision for avoiding or minimizing invasions into personal and associational/expression information, for preventing such information from being shared widely within the government, or for destroying irrelevant material when the investigation is concluded,” said the ACLU’s filing.

Talarico, along with the personal accounts for Lacy MacAuley and Legba Carrefour, didn’t know about the warrants because of a gag order, according to LawNewz.

A Facebook spokesperson told TheWrap the company worked to notify the three users about the investigation.

“We successfully fought in court to be able to notify the three people whose broad account information was requested by the government,” said the spokesperson. “We are grateful to the companies and civil society organizations that supported us in arguing for people’s ability to learn about and challenge overly broad search warrants.”