A new court filing has revealed that social media giant Facebook is now allowed to notify users of search warrant requests which pertain to their persons. Back in early 2017, the U.S. government was granted search warrants that gave them access to Facebook account records of three users. As part of the court order, Facebook was banned from alerting the users in question about the search warrants, but now a new court filing shows the government has waived the non-disclosure orders.
When the government's search warrants were initially issued, Facebook was strongly opposing the gag orders and even filed a response through the courts in the hope of appealing the decision in the future, citing user privacy. A hearing which would have seen both Facebook and the U.S. government argue their cases was set for September 14. It appears that less than 24 hours prior to the hearing, the government filed papers asking for the orders to be annulled, stating that the investigation had progressed to the point where the orders were no longer necessary. Because of this, both Facebook and the government jointly filed papers requesting that the September 14 hearing is canceled. Facebook confirmed that it was pleased with the outcome, though the social media giant didn't necessarily win the case given its outcome. The latest turn of events suggests that it's likely that similar cases where non-disclosure orders are deemed necessary by the government will follow, and the American company, as well as others, are likely to fight them using comparable means.
Facebook's court battle is only one of many privacy-related cases which are currently being led or have been led in the country, and with an increasing number of companies being pressured by the government to release user information and the growing importance of user privacy, court battles regarding permanent solutions are on the horizon. It's currently unclear what the information requests Facebook was fighting were pertaining to, but it's rumored that the three users in question were arrested during President Trump's Inauguration Day, with the majority of related court cases still ongoing. The social media giant has since confirmed that it will now inform all three users of the information requests pertaining to their respective social media accounts.