As Ben Shapiro asks — shouldn’t this cause Facebook to be immediately deplatformed? The social-media giant is tacitly promoting human traffickers, NBC News reports, who “advertise” their services in smuggling the desperate into the US. And the coyotes aren’t exactly subtle about it, either:
Human smugglers are openly advertising their services on Facebook, falsely telling Central Americans interested in crossing illegally into the United States that they can promise a “100 percent” safe journey.
While the use of social media by smugglers is not new, the practice is growing, fueling false hope as more migrants fall prey to misinformation about how the Biden administration will welcome them, according to Department of Homeland Security officials, immigration experts and lawyers.
“Travel to Mexico to the United States. Costs $8,000. 100 percent safe,” reads a recent post written in Spanish. “Cross through Matamoros. You walk one hour, after in automobile until you arrive to your relative.”
The Spanish-language posts identified by NBC News were found on public Facebook pages with names like “Migrants from Various Countries in Mexico” and “Migrants in the Mexico-U.S.A. Border Awaiting Hearing.”
Of course, Facebook runs their own servers and therefore creates their own rules. That’s the benefit of having created a platform large enough and without sufficient competition. It allows for complete independence and, in this particular case, impunity.
NBC uses the word “advertising,” but that’s a bit sloppy. What Julia Ainsley and Didi Martinez describe isn’t advertising in the commercial sense, ie, Facebook taking money to put ads in rotation. Instead, the traffickers are posting their promotions as users in the groups and on these pages, presumably for no cost but the minimal manpower needed to post them. Facebook isn’t receiving compensation for these postings, or at least NBC isn’t reporting that. However, they’re clearly not policing these boards as robustly as, say, those discussing election-related issues.
And make no mistake about it — this is clearly “misinformation,” the excuse Facebook uses to cull out fringy political discussions. The Biden administration calls it that, in part to blame these postings for the amplitude of the border surge:
The Department of Homeland Security, which monitors social media posts by potential immigrants, believes the misinformation spread by smugglers is partly to blame for the recent surge at the border, said an official familiar with the department’s intelligence about the topic.
An apparent smuggler posted a picture of a family with luggage, wearing masks and sitting together on what appears to be a plane. “Make your dream a reality in the United States. We are here to help you,” the caption reads. “The journey is safe and reliable and the price is $4,500 leaving from Monterrey to San Antonio, Texas.”
So how about it? Why is Facebook silencing wildly speculative but harmless debate, while allowing coyotes to promote their services with lies that actually get people killed while robbing them blind? Does human trafficking not bother Facebook execs as much as “stop the steal” dead-enders do? Perhaps members of Congress can ask Mark Zuckerberg to explain the hypocrisy the next time they call him to Capitol Hill to pressure him into further constraining political speech.