(NewsGlobal.com)- Facebook is ending its policy of allowing illegal immigrants to use the platform to find smugglers to ferry them across the US border after admitting that human smuggling amounted to “human exploitation.”
According to the Washington Free Beacon, on December 8, Meta, Facebook’s parent company, announced in a policy memo that users are forbidden from posting content offering to “provide or facilitate human smuggling” or asking for “human smuggling services.”
In April 2021, the Tech Transparency Project identified a surge in Facebook groups devoted to human smuggling.
Last year, Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley alleged that Facebook may have violated “federal anti-trafficking laws” by allowing such posts on its platform. Human smuggling services that bring individuals into the country for money are often indistinguishable from human traffickers, who buy and sell people for forced labor or prostitution, Hawley explained.
In February, Facebook denied that permitting such posts would lead to the abuse of migrants and pushed back on the idea that human smuggling leads to human trafficking, arguing “there are literally differing legal definitions for both things.”
In November, Republican Senators Marsha Blackburn, Thom Tillis, and Steve Daines sent a letter to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg demanding the company “take immediate steps to stop facilitating illegal immigration.” In their letter, the senators cited reports that cartels use Facebook to recruit drivers for their human smuggling operations.
Perhaps all the pressure is why Meta has had a change of heart.
In its December 8 memo, Meta explains that human smuggling and human trafficking “can be related and exhibit overlap,” adding that both can be considered “human exploitation.”
According to Facebook spokeswoman Jeanne Moran, Facebook does not permit human exploitation on its platforms. She said the company wants to support “those escaping conflict and oppression” by providing information on how to seek asylum “while protecting them from harm.”