Consumer Watchdog Slams Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for Helping Police Track #BlackLivesMatter Protesters in Ferguson & Baltimore

October 11, 2016

According to a report published yesterday by the ACLU of California, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram provided special access to user data for law enforcement officials to use in Geofeedia, a social media monitoring product marketed to law enforcement as a tool to monitor activists and protesters. This information was used to track #BlackLivesMatter protesters in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD.


In reaction to the report, Nicole Carty, senior campaigner at SumOfUs, a global consumer watchdog, issued the following statement:

“Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram’s provision of user data to law enforcement officials is a brazen violation of our constitutional rights to privacy, not to mention our first amendment right to protest. As if this violation of user trust wasn’t enough, the data was meant to help police target people of color, which is an egregiously discriminatory practice and major abuse of power by law enforcement officials.

“The protests after the police killings of Mike Brown and Freddie Gray were tantamount in raising awareness about police brutality and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Without social media, it’s possible these actions would not have had such a wide reach and resounding effect throughout the nation.

“That’s why it’s such an outrage that companies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, who go to such great lengths to accommodate their users, would provide our private information to law enforcement officials for use in squashing free speech and protest. This is more than just a violation of our privacy and freedom of speech; this is compliance with a system that tacitly condones institutional racism and surveillance of communities of color — we won’t stand for that.”


For more information, or for interviews with SumOfUs, please contact Nicole Carty by email at


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SumOfUs is a global consumer watchdog: an online community of ten million people who campaign to hold big corporations accountable.

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