Facebook admits to letting users share information on human smuggling

Facebook has admitted to allowing users “to share information about how to enter a country illegally or request information about how to be smuggled,” in a letter to the Arizona attorney general.

The admission was made after the Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote to Mark Zuckerberg in an open letter to the Arizona attorney general to ask for information on reports that drug cartels and human smugglers were using Facebook “to promote their services to migrants” during “their dangerous journeys and illegal entry to the United States.” Shortly thereafter, Brnovich declared his intention to have the Justice Department investigate Facebook.

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In his letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Bronvich said his office was “surprised” by Facebook’s response.

UKRAINE - 2021/10/04: In this photo illustration a tweet on Twitter with a Facebook status seen displayed on a smartphone screen with a facebook logo background. Social media applications Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are experiencing a global outage. (Photo Illustration by Mykola Tys/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Zuckerberg: Getty Images

UKRAINE – 2021/10/04: In this photo illustration a tweet on Twitter with a Facebook status seen displayed on a smartphone screen with a facebook logo background. Global outage in social media apps Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Photo Illustration by Mykola Tis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Zuckerberg
( | Mykola Tys/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“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,” Brnovich wrote. The company acts as a facilitator and this exacerbates the disaster at Arizona’s southern borders. “

Bronvich said he’s seeking assistance from the Justice Department because states “are largely preempted from enforcing federal immigration laws and certain criminal statutes related to human smuggling. Our office asks that the Department investigate Facebook’s support for illegal immigration at Arizona’s Southern Border.

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In Facebook’s response to Bronvich, William Castleberry, vice president for state public policy, said the company has been working “diligently” to remove content about drug trafficking or human smuggling from the platform — but that it has no rule against sharing information about how to enter a country illegally.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announces that the Justice Department will file a lawsuit challenging a Georgia election law that imposes new limits on voting, during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 25, 2021. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announces that the Justice Department will file a lawsuit challenging a Georgia election law that imposes new limits on voting, during a news conference at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., U.S., June 25, 2021. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno
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He also said Facebook does not allow people to share content about selling drugs or smuggling, and posts on those topics will be removed.

“We do allow people to share information about how to enter a country illegally or request information about how to be smuggled,” Castleberry wrote in the letter dated July 30. After speaking with experts in human rights, Castleberry stated that Facebook was not trying to prevent human smuggling. However, it did intend to help people seek asylum according to international law.

“Allowing people to seek and share information related to smuggling 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 about drug trafficking and smuggling, but relies on “automated post scanning” systems to spot violations.

MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) detected multiple drug-smuggling vessels with approximately 4735 pounds of cocaine as part of Operation Full Court Press in the Caribbean Sea with interagency partners. The estimated wholesale value of the drugs is $61.7 million. Jan 4 2018.

MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO) detected multiple drug-smuggling vessels with approximately 4735 pounds of cocaine as part of Operation Full Court Press in the Caribbean Sea with interagency partners. The estimated wholesale value of the drugs is $61.7 million. Jan 4 2018.

“Facebook identifies no mechanism to distinguish between authorized and unauthorized posts, nor is it clear how it differentiates between the two. He wrote that Facebook’s enforcement system is “a paper Tiger”.

By editor