By Terrance Turner
Sept. 27, 2019 (updated Oct. 4, 2021, Aug. 9, 2022)
Facebook turned over a teenager’s private chat messages in response to a search warrant from authorities, Forbes reports.
Seventeen-year-old Celeste Burgess, who is being tried as an adult along with her mother Jessica Burgess, is awaiting trial in Madison County District Court on charges that they broke a Nebraska law banning abortions after 20 weeks. A Norfolk police detective launched his investigation in late April, chasing a tip that Celeste Burgess had miscarried and that she and her mother had buried the body, according to a search warrant affidavit.
According to the Lincoln Journal Star, the investigator then obtained Celeste’s medical records and found that she’d been more than 23 weeks pregnant. In early June, the two women were each charged with removing, concealing or abandoning a dead human body, a felony, and a pair of misdemeanors: concealing the death of another person; and false reporting. A week later, he served a search warrant to Facebook, which turned over private messages revealing that Celeste had gotten abortion pills from her mother.
This action is at odds with Facebook (aka Meta’s) public statements on how they will address abortion in a Post-Roe world. A month before Celeste was charged, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook parent Meta, was asked by employees how the company will protect those seeking abortions. Zuckerberg replied that efforts to expand encryption across the platform will “keep people safe,” CyberScoop reported.