Terrorists, you've been warned: Be careful what you send over Facebook. The FBI may get its hands on your messages.
In a recent FBI sting, 21-year old Quazi Mohammad Rezwanul Ahsan Nafis was arrested after he attempted to detonate a fake 1,000-pound car bomb near the New York Federal Reserve building. Federal authorities and the NYPD busted the man, who was in the U.S. on a student visa, in part because of his Facebook interactions with an FBI source.
Below is an excerpt from the court documents provided by the Legal Times, detailing Nafis' use of Facebook:
During the period between July 6, 2012 and July 8,2012, NAFIS, the CO-CONSPIRATOR and the CHS [confidential human source] began to communicate via Facebook, an internet social-media website. During these communications, which were consensually recorded by the CHS, the three discussed certain Islamic legal rulings that advise that it is unlawful for a person who enters a country with a visa to wage jihad there. NAFIS stated that he had conferred with another individual in Bangladesh and was advised that he was not bound by such rulings. Accordingly, NAFIS indicated that he believed that he was free to continue with his plan to conduct a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
The alleged conspirator was no stranger to many of the Internet technologies we use everyday. On the day of his arrest, the Bangladeshi man spoke via Skype to his family and updated them about his studies. He also planned to detonate the car bomb with a mobile device by "installing the battery in the detonator and connecting the wires linking the detonator to the purported explosive materials," court documents say.
Ironically, before moving to Jamaica, Queens, Nafis had been studying cybersecurity for a semester at Southeast Missouri State University.
This isn't the first time Facebook and other social media sites have been used to track terrorist activity. Earlier this month, CNN released a report illustrating how the FBI gathered tips from Twitter and Facebook about a "wanted terrorist" who grew up in Boston. In 2010, Facebook also helped capture Antonio Martinez, a 21-year-old who had hoped to blow up a Maryland mall, according to the blog AllFacebook.
The giant social media site has removed terrorist pages in the past, according to UPI, stating the Facebook Statement of Rights does not allow users to create content that "incites violence." A company spokesperson also told UPI that the State Department List of Foreign Terror Organizations helps Facebook know which groups to monitor.
[Hat Tip: Mashable]