Facebook says users can share advice on immigrant smuggling
Facebook has acknowledged it allows people to share information on how to immigrate illegally or be smuggled into the U.S., saying it crafted the policy to give them a shot at asylum and prevent them from relying on human traffickers.
The company admitted the matter in a private correspondence to Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich . Mr. Brnovich was stunned by the revelation and wrote a letter late last week to the Justice Department. He requested that the U.S. Attorney General Merrick Galrland open an investigation into the social media company and seek a way to “stop it active encouragement and facilitation for illegal entry .”
“Facebook‘s policy of allowing posts promoting human smuggling and illegal entry into the United States to regularly reach its billions of users seriously undermines the rule of law,” Mr. Brnovich wrote. “The company is a facilitator and therefore exacerbates the disaster occurring at Arizona’s south border .”
In a long reply, the tech company stated that it does not attempt to remove content about drug trafficking or posts “promoting human-smuggling services.” However, they added that individuals are free to share information about illegally crossing borders.
“We do allow people to share information about how to enter a country illegally or request information about how to be smuggled,” wrote William Castleberry, Facebook‘s vice president for state public policy.
He stated Facebook he spoke with “human right experts” to figure that some illegal immigrants might try to claim asylum. This is an international right. Castleberry said that the company hopes to share information with migrants so they can sneak into the country, rather than turn to human traffickers .
Mr. Brnovich, in his letter to the Justice Department, said Facebook appeared to be equating human smuggling and human trafficking, though they are different crimes. The first involves transporting people against the law, often at their request, while the second is coerced, and typically ends in forced labor or sexual exploitation.
Facebook‘s defense of asylum is also striking.
In other contexts, it does not seem to make exceptions for illegal activity postings such as plans to 3D-print firearms. However, these plans could be used to help victims of stalking or domestic abuse.
The Washington Times reached out Facebook to clarify its policies, but was not able to get a reply.
Facebook said it tries to limit searches for human smuggling and blocks ads for smuggling services.
” If human smuggling postings are identified, it’s our policy to remove and disable the account for the user who posted them,” Mr. Castleberry wrote. “Our strictest penalty .”
is to disable user accounts for one violation of our human-smuggling content policy.
He explained that users can report content that they believe is inappropriate and staff will review it to determine what to remove and what to ban. He stated that the goal is to flag offending posts using automated screening.
This includes screening for information “relating human smuggling or illegal drugs .”
” While our enforcement efforts aren’t perfect, and there is always more to do, we have taken strong measures to identify and remove any content that promotes human smuggling or drug trafficking,” wrote the company executive.
Although it falls under the jurisdiction of the federal government, he stated that Arizona can pursue human traffickers. He stated his office is looking into cases where sex traffickers were advertising on Facebook .
Facebook‘s revelations are likely to add to the company’s public travails. Liberals accuse Facebook of fueling right-wing conspiracy theories. Conservatives are furious about the platform’s censorship decision.
It remains to be determined if the Justice Department makes any moves against the company. This article was not commented upon by the department.
Social media have changed the way migrant smuggling is done. Responding to Facebook Central America ads, migrants respond to the smuggling groups’ Snapchat-based drivers. Drivers and migrants can also connect through GPS pins sent through WhatsApp.
According to The Washington Times’ database of cases involving smuggling,
Telegram and TikTok were also used.
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook , and is frequently mentioned by smugglers. The Times database shows.
Cartel scouts make use of WhatsApp to help drivers find pickup spots, provide updates on Border Patrol movements and recommend routes that are most likely to succeed. The Times discovered cases where smugglers used WhatsApp to demand extra payments from their families in order to release migrants.
Social media posts can also be used to encourage illegal immigration. Many migrants who reach the United States and are caught and released post online about their successes, encouraging family and friends to do the exact same.
” I’ve never met an immigrant without a modern smartphone. This gave me that real-time intelligence about where and when people are going and what their upstream neighbors were doing. “This year’s expose by Todd Bensman, a Center for Immigration Studies national security fellow, stated that he was astonished that an immigrant had a modern phone.