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Facebook admits to letting users share information on human smuggling

Image : PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

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

According to the Washington Times, the admission came after Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked CEO Mark Zuckerberg for information about reports that human smugglers and drug cartels are using the platform “to advertise their services” to help migrants “on their dangerous journey and unlawful entry into the United States.”

Soon after, Brnovich revealed his plan to request an inquiry against the social media behemoth from the Justice Department.

Bronvich said his office was “surprised” by Facebook’s reaction in a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland.

“Facebook’s policy of enabling posts supporting human smuggling and unlawful entry into the US to reach billions of people on a regular basis significantly undermines the rule of law,” Brnovich said. “The corporation is a direct facilitator of the disaster unfolding at Arizona’s southern border, and consequently exacerbates it.”

Bronvich is seeking help from the Justice Department because states are “essentially precluded from implementing federal immigration laws and certain criminal statutes relating to human smuggling,” according to Bronvich.

Bronvich’s letter stated, “Our office requests that your Department examine Facebook’s facilitation of human smuggling along Arizona’s southern border and cease its active encouragement and facilitation of unlawful immigration.”

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

He also stated that Facebook does not allow users to share content related to drug sales or smuggling, and that such posts will be removed.

In a letter dated July 30, Castleberry stated, “We do allow anyone to communicate information about how to enter a nation illegally or request information about how to be smuggled.”

Castleberry claimed that Facebook intended to halt human smuggling but not to interfere with people’s right to seek refuge under international law after engaging with “human rights experts.”

In the letter, he insisted that allowing people to seek and exchange information related to smuggling can also assist lessen the likelihood of them being used by human traffickers.

Bronvich admitted that Facebook eliminates content related to drug trafficking and smuggling, but claimed the company depends on “automatic post scanning” methods to detect infractions.

“Facebook hasn’t identified a technique for distinguishing between permitted and unauthorised posts, and it’s unclear how it does so.” “Facebook’s enforcement system is ultimately a paper tiger,” he wrote.



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