OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
As much as we’d like to say that we’re shocked at what’s happening here, we have to remember that this is Facebook, anyway.
Washington Free Beacon has obtained an internal memo obtained by the Washington Free Beacon which states that the parent company of Facebook, Meta, is now allowing human smuggling to be solicited via its social media platforms. After five months of deliberation, Meta reached its policy decision after seeking advice from a wide variety of experts and global perspectives, the Washington Free Beacon reports.
The names of specific organizations were not mentioned, of course. They ensure that they spoke with “NGOs working with migrants” and “former border enforcement officials.”
Right. Like the type of border enforcement official who prefers to make it easier for someone to enter the country illegally instead of doing their job?
The following are some excerpts from the internal memo:
“We observed that a slight majority of stakeholders favored allowing solicitations of smuggling services for reasons associated with asylum seekers,” the memo reads. “We decided that this was indeed the best option since the risks could be mitigated by sending resources, whereas the risks of removing such content could not be mitigated.”
Washington Free Beacon added, in order to “mitigate the risks” of allowing “migrant seeking smuggler” type situations, Meta said it “proposed interventions such as sending resources to users soliciting smuggling services.”
Again, there was no specific example of these resources being provided. Rather, the company did state quite clearly, that it will allow the “sharing [of] information related to illegal border crossing.”
Meta’s decision goes directly against the demands of anti-human trafficking groups who wanted the tech giant to crack down on human smugglers.
“We regularly engage with outside experts to help us craft policies that strike the right balance between supporting people fleeing violence and religious persecution while not allowing human smuggling to take place through our platforms,” Meta spokesman Drew Pusateri said.
Are people just supposed to take Meta’s word for it, when they didn’t want this memo out in the first place, and when called into question on it provided no information of substance about their resources to substantiate this policy decision.
This decision was taken up on Capitol Hill with Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) writing directly to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, himself.
“It is unacceptable for an American company to allow a criminal enterprise to use your platform to freely encourage and facilitate criminal activity,” Cammack wrote.
In response, Meta maintained the platform prohibits “content that either offers or assists with human smuggling” and said it deleted the content highlighted by Cammack.
This commitment to the controversial policy shows that the tech company is willing to bend to the demands of left-wing activists, even if that necessitates supporting illegal activity. The Tech Transparency Project reported in April 2021 that there was a boom in the number of Facebook groups dedicated to human smuggling. Meta’s new policy comes at a time when more people are trying to illegally cross the border into the United States than there has ever been before.
There are some trade-offs associated with Meta’s decision, as determined in its memo. Allowing the solicitation of smuggling services “can make it easier for bad actors to identify and connect with vulnerable people.” It also added that “law enforcement and government bodies … raised concerns that permitting this type of content on our platforms facilitates illegal activity and puts migrants at serious risk of exploitation or death.”
The Republican Party and the Democratic Party, including the President Joe Biden, have condemned human smuggling operations that bring migrants across the southern border into the country. In July 2021, the White House announced a new “Human Smuggling and Trafficking Task Force” to “disrupt and prevent migrant smuggling and human trafficking operations.”
It is common for migrants who rely on the assistance of human traffickers to cross the southern border to suffer sexual assaults or other forms of violence as a result of the activity. A May 2017 report from Doctors Without Borders found 31.4 percent of female migrants who traveled through Mexico into the United States had been sexually abused.
“Migrants and refugees are preyed upon by criminal organizations, sometimes with the tacit approval or complicity of national authorities, and subjected to violence and other abuses—abduction, theft, extortion, torture, and rape—that can leave them injured and traumatized,” the report reads.