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AG Asked to Investigate Facebook Over Trafficking Accusations

Photo by Kon Karampelas on Unsplash

AG Asked to Investigate Facebook Over Trafficking Accusations

By Movieguide® Staff

Arizona State Attorney General Brnovich demanded United States Attorney General Merrick Garland order an investigation into Facebook over allegations of human trafficking.

“Platforms like Facebook are too easily exploited by traffickers, particularly when they do not properly understand, monitor, or remove postings for illegal conduct,” Brnovich wrote in the letter to Garland.

“It is the federal government’s duty to enforce its immigration and criminal laws, and specifically, the Department of Justice’s responsibility to investigate and prosecute these matters,” Brnovich said. “Therefore, our office request that your Department investigate Facebook’s facilitation of human smuggling at Arizona’s southern border and stop its active encouragement of illegal entry.”

The U.S. border crisis is reaching a watershed moment with politicians like Iowa’s Ashley Hinson calling the lack of immigration enforcement a “dangerous void in leadership.”

Arizona’s Brnovich believes that the failure to enforce immigration rules combined with Facebook’s allowance of posts promoting human smuggling are fueling the “Unprecedented border crisis.”

“The company is a direct facilitator, and thus exacerbates, the catastrophe occurring at Arizona’s southern border,” he said.

“Facebook’s letter additionally raises serious questions about its understanding of, and its true commitment to prevent, human and sex trafficking,” Brnovich continued. “Facebook’s letter does not address the heinous issue of sex trafficking, and actually seems to conflate it with illegal entry. While these problems may be related, they are separate crimes that both take a devastating toll on the victims and our communities.”

Brnovich’s request for federal intervention comes after a whistleblower exposed the inner workings of Facebook and revealed how the platform took “no action” against traffickers and drug cartels. 

According to the Wall Street Journal report:

When problems have surfaced publicly, Facebook has said it addressed them by taking down offending posts. But it hasn’t fixed the systems that allowed offenders to repeat the bad behavior. Instead, priority is given to retaining users, helping business partners and at times placating authoritarian governments, whose support Facebook sometimes needs to operate within their borders, the documents show.

Facebook treats harm in developing countries as “simply the cost of doing business” in those places, said Brian Boland, a former Facebook vice president who oversaw partnerships with internet providers in Africa and Asia before resigning at the end of last year. Facebook has focused its safety efforts on wealthier markets with powerful governments and media institutions, he said, even as it has turned to poorer countries for user growth.

“There is very rarely a significant, concerted effort to invest in fixing those areas,” he said.

Other states are also taking action against Facebook.

As Movieguide® previously reported, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that the company could be held liable for predators who use the platform to target and traffick children.

“Holding internet platforms accountable for words or actions of their users is one thing, and the federal precedent uniformly dictates that section 230 does not allow it,” the court stated according to the Houston Chronicle. “Holding internet platforms accountable for their own misdeeds is quite another thing. This is particularly the case for human trafficking.”

Brnovich’s request, though, addresses the social media giant on a larger level.

“The people of Arizona and all Border States deserve the due diligence of the federal government in its enforcement of the rule of law. I look forward to your response and commitment that platforms like Facebook will be held accountable to the extent that they facilitate illegal activity in our communities,” Brnovich concluded.