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Facebook fights U.S. gag order that it says chills free speech

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Facebook Inc (FB.O) is challenging a gag order from a U.S. court that is preventing the company from talking about three government search warrants that it said pose a threat to freedom of speech, according to court documents.

Facebook said it wants to notify three users about the search warrants seeking their communications and information and also give those users an opportunity to object to the warrants, according to a filing in a Washington, D.C., appeals court seen by Reuters.

"We believe there are important First Amendment concerns with this case, including the government's refusal to let us notify three people of broad requests for their account information in connection with public events," Facebook said in a statement on Monday.

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees certain rights including freedom of speech.

William Miller, a spokesman for U.S. prosecutors, declined to comment.

Facebook decided to challenge the gag order around the three warrants because free speech was at stake and because the events underlying the government's investigation were generally known to the public already, Facebook said in the undated court document.



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