Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has refused to comply with a search warrant after the controversial Philando Castile shooting. In Contrast, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) complied with the warrant allowing investigators to go through Diamond Reynolds and Castile iCloud accounts.
Facebook’s Firm Stance
The revelations come on the heels of claims that investigators focused their investigations entirely on the two, without carrying a similar probe on Jeronimo Yanez who shot Mr. Castile. Facebook reportedly refused to comply with the warrant arguing that it was unconstitutional prompting investigators to withdraw the warrant.
Reports indicate that the search warrant directed towards the social network included language that suggested investigators could uncover criminal activity during or after the shooting. However, Facebook reportedly told investigators that it would allow them to look into the two accounts only if the search was not carried out in secret.
Most of the searches according to media reports focused on Mr. Castile and his girlfriend, who was with him at the time of the shooting. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension on its defense maintains it is not unusual for investigators to do such thorough examination.
“Analysis of text messages and chats regarding the individuals involved in this incident may, in fact, assist in corroborating or refuting statements made by the individual involved in this investigation,” wrote a Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator in a request.
Privacy vs. Search Warrant
The fact that similar probes were not carried on the shooter Mr. Yanez continues to raise concerns of what the investigators wanted to achieve. Family members have already cried foul of the ‘shoddy’ investigations especially on the not guilty verdict on felony manslaughter and reckless discharge of a fire on the main suspect.
Facebook fighting off the search warrant once again reiterates its commitment to safeguarding the privacy of users who entrust it with their information. However, the fact that Apple allowed investigators into Castile’s and Reynolds’s iCloud account raises questions as to how companies are supposed to react when faced with search warrants from investigators.
Facebook stock was up by 1.09% in Friday’s trading to end the week at $155.07 a share.