Mexican drug cartels, Middle Eastern human traffickers, African armed groups. There is everything in the posts published on Facebook and Instagram. The company knows this but, as usual, it does little or nothing to counter the phenomenon. This is what emerges from the fourth episode of the long investigation that the Wall Street Journal is dedicating to the group of Mark Zuckerberg after logging in to internal documents of society. Yet it is the employees themselves who knock in alarm on the boss’s door. But the answer was either inadequate or completely absent.
Employees reported as human traffickers in Middle East have used the sites to lure some women into situations abusive work where they have been treated like slaves or forced into sexual performance. They warned that some armed groups in Ethiopia they used the site to incite violence against ethnic minorities. They sent notices to their leaders about the findings sale of organs, on pornography and the government’s action against political dissent, and on the practice of South American drug traffickers to enlist “laborers” through social media.
As in all the other situations highlighted by the New York financial newspaper, Facebook’s official positions diverge profoundly from what his real behavior is. Some pages have been removed, many others they stay where they are. The company said it eliminated controversial and offensive posts. However, it did not correct the system that allowed its publication. Usual user loyalty took priority on any other consideration. Also because, unlike in richer countries where stricter rules and more careful controls are often in force, Facebook’s policy in developing states is very lax.
Facebook considers the damage done in less rich countries as a simple “side effect” of being present in these areas as well, explained one of the company’s former vice presidents. Brian Boland. Nothing to worry about, despite being the areas that show the highest user growth rate. G.security efforts, on the other hand, are concentrated on richer markets. Areas of the developing world already have hundreds of millions more Facebook users than the United States: by now, over 90% of the platform’s subscribers are located outside the US and Canada. BUT above all these are areas where, unlike the US and Europe, registrations are increasing and where Facebook is the main online communication channel and source of news.
As the Wall Street Journal many of them emerged from an internal investigation conducted by a former police member hired by Facebook. The team he is responsible for has mainly focused on Facebook pages “Cjng”, the abbreviation for Cartél Jalisco New Generation, Mexican drug trade organization. The team identified key players in the group, tracked payments made to hit men, and found out how they were recruiting poor teenagers to transfer to training camps to turn them into killers. They were brought to the attention of the company post which showed the risk of beatings or murder for teenagers trying to escape from the training camp. The social has hosted pages in which gold-plated guns and / or bloody criminal scenes appear. Despite the stresses of the investigative team internal, the company removed only some of the pages reported, and, in several cases, he then let them reappear.
Another emblematic case concerns India, where Facebook counts 300 million users. The group’s internal team created a fake Indian woman profile in 2019 to test the type of interactions that were being suggested to the virtual user. by the social algorithm. The result was summarized with the word “nightmare”. “The news stream received from the test profiles quickly became a continuous flurry of extreme nationalist content, disinformation, violence and blood “, the report reads. The Facebook Watch video service also “seems to recommend a lot of videos soft porn“. After a suicide bombing killed dozens of Indian paramilitary officers, and India blamed Pakistan, drawings of beheadings and photos that hinted at the severed torso of a Muslim man were suggested to the profile. “I’ve seen multiple pictures of dead people in the last 3 weeks than I have seen in my entire life, ”wrote one researcher.