Tech companies show support for Facebook after handing over user data

Major tech companies such as Google, Microsoft and Twitter have expressed support for Facebook, which has entered a legal battle over the protection of user data. The company had to hand over data without being able to object.

In total, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Yelp expressed their support for Facebook in a joint motion on Friday. They did this at the New York prosecutor’s office, where, according to PC World, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Meetup and Tumblr also filed separate requests. In that request, they ask whether the judiciary can destroy the usage data obtained.

The tech companies are also dissatisfied with the gag ban imposed on Facebook. They believe that the company should have been given the opportunity to object to the order. In addition, Facebook should have informed the affected users earlier. Now it took months before Facebook was allowed to inform the users.

The statement of support from the prominent companies follows on Friday after the social networking site was ordered by a judge to hand over the data of 381 fraud suspects to the New York City Council last year, while the company could not object. The data ranged from liked pages to private messages to other users. The suspects allegedly made false claims to insurance companies because they would no longer be physically able to work. However, on the basis of data that could be found on their Facebook profiles, it would be clear that this was not the case.

However, Facebook did not want to hand over the personal data, because it believes the requests violate the US Fourth Amendment. That law prohibits the state from conducting unreasonable searches or seizing personal property without reason. However, the New York judge ruled that Facebook is just a platform where data is reposted online and is not a target for a criminal investigation. According to the judge, Facebook is only a storage space for the data of its users. Therefore, the law would not apply to Facebook in the case.

In addition, the judge ruled that the identity of the affected users should not be disclosed, in order to prevent them from deleting their information on Facebook once they realize that they are under investigation. Facebook appealed the ruling.