(TheRedWire.com) – In June 2020, a New Mexico paramilitary militia group confronted protestors who wanted to knock down and destroy a statue of a Spanish conquistador. An alleged shooter not involved with the group shot and wounded a protestor. Prosecutors blamed the militia group and accused members of incentivizing violence. They sought a civil injunction to prevent the group from acting as law enforcement in the future. There’s just one problem, thanks to Facebook.
Early this morning my office filed an enforcement action against Facebook for refusing to cooperate with our request for information about the account holders who used the social media platform to recruit, organize and direct extremist militia activity. https://t.co/slp5MA6dXm
— Raul Torrez (@_Raul_Torrez) November 15, 2021
Officials don’t know who to file the injunction against, and they want Facebook to provide them with the identity of administrators and members of a Facebook group. That could be a nearly impossible feat. Facebook says they shut down the group page, and because it no longer exists, the information is no longer available. That’s not good enough for prosecutors, so they took their case to a California judge to force the social media giant’s hands.
Legal experts and online privacy experts argue the case exposes federal privacy laws in need of updates, so social media companies will be required to keep and retain records. In Washington, DC, a federal judge ruled federal privacy laws only apply to active accounts, not banned or suspended ones.
It could be a problematic situation for New Mexico officials.
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