Facebook provided the US Federal Police with private information from one of its users as part of an investigation into the intrusion of supporters of Donald Trump into the Washington Capitol on January 6.
On January 20, a criminal complaint against a New Yorker who participated in the Capitol riots of January 6 revealed the transmission by Facebook of private information (messages and IP addresses) to the FBI.
The ongoing proceedings against Christopher M. Kelly included a search warrant for his Facebook account, as revealed by Forbes. U.S. Federal Police were seeking the private messages, IP address, phone number and Gmail address of Christopher M. Kelly, after being informed that photos of the New Yorker taken during the events of January 6 had been published on Mark Zuckerberg’s social network.
Among the data provided by Facebook were therefore private messages with other users: according to the complaint, Christopher M. Kelly had for example written, in a private message sent to a discussion group on January 6, “Tear gas, the police […] they’re all heading for the basement, ”and soon after,“ F ** k those snakes. Out of OUR HOUSE! ”. Later, on January 9, he posted in a private chat a photo of himself shirtless, waving an American flag in front of the Capitol, telling the recipient “it’s me” and “my brother took it”.
The history of IP addresses provided by Facebook also showed that Christopher M. Kelly traveled on January 6 from New York to Silver Spring, a city 10 km from Washington.
Still according to Forbes, there is no indication at present Christopher M. Kelly has been arrested, although an arrest warrant has been issued.
Facebook accused of facilitating the organization of the riots of January 6
This transmission of private information from Facebook comes in a context where the largest social network in the world is accused of having unwittingly – via public and private accounts – been used by participants in the events of January 6.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg had defended the California-based company saying the protests were largely staged on smaller, marginal social networks like Parler and Gab. It later emerged that many Facebook accounts were also used by the rioters, with some even posting violent threats there, also said. Forbes. Publications that have allowed the United States Department of Justice to indict many people.
A George Washington University study updated on Jan. 20 indicates that social media was cited in 78% of the 92 criminal complaints filed as part of the DOJ’s investigations into the Capitol riots. Of these, 38% of these included messages posted on the network by an individual who was subsequently charged.
The day after the violence on Capitol Hill, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts were blocked for an indefinite period.