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Facebook and Twitter help smash Rio terror plot in ‘Operation Hashtag’

Facebook & Twitter collaborate with Brazil in ‘Operation Hashtag’

Facebook and Twitter have been actively providing intelligence on suspected terrorists to Brazilian authorities, a judge has revealed, following the arrest of 12 suspected Islamist militants last week.

Operation Hashtag saw both social media firms pass on vital information in relation to the suspects’ online activities according to judge Marcos Josegrei da Silva.

Speaking to the Globo Television Network he said: “The companies began to provide data related to the content of the conversations and data about where those conversations were posted.” Josegrei da Silva went on to add that "there is no anonymity for those sorts of activities on the Internet".

Online privacy has become a highly charged issue in Brazil in recent weeks following a decision by Brazilian judges to temporarily block Facebook’s Whatsapp messaging service in a bid to force it to hand over information.

Neither Facebook nor Twitter have commented publicly on the case but both maintain a ‘zero tolerance’ approach toward terrorism and other crimes, cooperating with government officials where it is deemed to be necessary.

All the suspects are alleged to have expressed sympathetic views toward the Islamic State terror organisation and had reportedly discussed attacking the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro which are due to get underway in just two weeks’ time.

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