U.S. Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) sent a letter to the CEOs of Twitter, Meta, Snapchat, and TikTok following a Wall Street Journal report that migrant smuggling operations are recruiting drivers through social media to illegally transport people across the southern border and into the United States.
Find the full text of one of the letters here or below.
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,
We write to express concern about recent allegations regarding your platform. According to a Wall Street Journal article published on October 19, 2022, migrant smuggling groups are using your platform to recruit drivers to illegally transport people across the southern border and into the United States.
As explained in the article, drivers use your platform to coordinate with smuggling groups, who can promise thousands of dollars to drivers who illegally carry migrants across the border. This also assists smuggling groups in evading U.S. law, since most drivers reportedly do not know who they are working for and cannot provide information on the groups upon being arrested.
It appears these schemes are facilitated in large part on your platform. According to a U.S. Border Patrol Agent interviewed for the article, “about 90% of the…drivers that we are seeing, in post-arrest interviews, are admitting that they were recruited through social media.”
In conjunction with the Biden Administration’s failed immigration policies, the inability—or reluctance—of your platform to prevent these migrant smuggling schemes has led to a completely porous southern border and historic levels of illegal immigration. This has, in turn, led to a devastating amount of drug and human trafficking and other forms of violent crime.
When asked about these activities on your platform, the Wall Street Journal reports that your company–which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp—said “the company prohibits the facilitation of human smuggling and invests in technology and works with law enforcement to address the issue.”
Although your company has developed—and has long enjoyed the benefits of—incredibly complex algorithms and other technology to keep users addicted, you claim to be unable to curb these illegal immigration schemes. You have the ability to address this problem, and it is critical that you take immediate steps to stop facilitating illegal immigration on your platform.
Please answer the following questions by December 16, 2022:
- How long have you been tracking this type of content? Are these types of posts growing or decreasing in frequency on your platform?
- How many posts with this type of content have been removed from your platform? How many users have been banned for posting this type of content?
- What percentage of your content review or moderating team is dedicated to this material?
- Have your algorithms and artificial intelligence been trained to identify or remove these types of posts and accounts? If so, please explain. If not, why not?
- What is the process for suspending or removing this content and the accounts behind it?
- Do you monitor or keep records of the accounts that engage with or respond to these posts? If so, what does the platform do with this information? Is there any disciplinary action taken, or is law enforcement notified? If not, why not?
- How do you coordinate with law enforcement to help them identify people involved in smuggling groups? How do you coordinate with law enforcement to remove content law enforcement may have identified on your platform?