US targets anti-Trump activists' Facebook accounts

NEW YORK - Two weeks ago, Lacy MacAuley was shocked when she opened her email inbox to find a message informing her that the US Department of Justice had served a warrant to Facebook to access her personal account.

"I had heard that Facebook was fighting some warrants, but I certainly didn't give it much thought," recalled MacAuley, a Washington, DC-based activist and prominent anti-fascist.

"I didn't expect that email," she told Al Jazeera by telephone.

Three warrants were served that demand Facebook provide the US government with all information from the accounts of two activists and a page affiliated with massive protests against right-wing President Donald Trump's inauguration on January 20.

The requested information includes the entirety of photos, videos, posts, private messages, video calls, billing information and other data between November 1, 2016, and February 9.

The other two warrants target activist Legba Carrefour and the "Disrupt J20" page, which has since been renamed "Resist This".

MacAuley and Carrefour had been protest spokespersons leading up to the inauguration, and the Disrupt J20 page was a digital space where visitors discussed and organised demonstrations.

If successful, the warrant for Disrupt J20 could result in some 6,000 visitors to that page having their names and public and private activity on and with the page passed on to the government.

Facebook was barred from informing its users that the DOJ was seeking their online information for seven months. Government lawyers dropped the gag order in mid-September.

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