Facebook admits letting users share information about human trafficking
Facebook admitted to allowing users “to share information about how to enter a country illegally or to request information on how to be smuggled,” in a letter to the Arizona attorney general.
The admission came after Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote to CEO Mark Zuckerberg requesting information on reports that human smugglers and drug cartels are using the platform “to advertise their services. “to aid migrants” on their dangerous journey and illegal entry into the United States, “the Washington Times first reported.
Shortly thereafter, Brnovich announced plans to request a Justice Department investigation into the social media giant.
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In his letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Bronvich said his office was “surprised” by Facebook’s response.
“Facebook’s policy of allowing posts promoting human trafficking and illegal entry into the United States to regularly reach its billions of users seriously undermines the rule of law,” Brnovich wrote. . “The company is a direct facilitator, and therefore exacerbates, the disaster unfolding on the southern Arizona border.”
Bronvich said he was seeking help from the Justice Department because states “are largely prevented from enforcing federal immigration laws and some criminal laws related to human trafficking.”
“Our office calls on your department to investigate Facebook’s facilitation of human trafficking at the southern Arizona border and to stop its active encouragement and facilitation of illegal entry,” the letter reads. Bronvich.
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In Facebook’s response to Bronvich, William Castleberry, the state’s vice president for public policy, said the company was working “diligently” to remove drug or human trafficking content from platform – but that there was no rule against sharing information on how to enter a country illegally.
He also said Facebook does not allow people to share content about drug dealing or smuggling, and that posts on these topics will be removed.
“We allow people to share information on how to enter a country illegally or to request information on how to be smuggled,” Castleberry wrote in a letter dated July 30.
After speaking with “human rights experts,” Castleberry wrote that Facebook intends to stop human trafficking, but not to interfere with a person’s right to claim. asylum under international law.
“Allowing people to research and share information related to trafficking can also help minimize the likelihood of them being exploited by human traffickers,” he said in the letter.
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Bronvich acknowledged that Facebook removes content on drug trafficking and smuggling, but relies on “automatic message scanning” systems to detect violations.
“Facebook does not identify any mechanism for distinguishing between allowed and unauthorized posts, nor is it clear how it differentiates between the two. Ultimately, Facebook’s enforcement mechanism is a paper tiger, “he wrote.