Facebook does little to counter the activities of drug cartels and human traffickers on the platform. That concludes The Wall Street Journal based on internal documents from the social media company. Although employees are sounding the alarm internally, there is not enough response.
The social network is active worldwide and most of the growth is now in countries outside the US and Europe. But, the newspaper writes, in those countries, what happens on the platform is not always properly monitored. In some countries there are few or no employees who speak specific dialects.
Organ sales, pornography and dissidents
Reports are made internally to Facebook of human traffickers in the Middle East operating on the platform and warning employees about armed Ethiopian groups inciting violence against ethnic minorities. Reports about organ sales, pornography and governments tackling dissidents are also not sufficiently heard.
According to a former executive at Facebook, responsible for partnerships with Internet service providers in Africa and Asia, the company sees this “just as the cost of doing business”. The company focuses on the more prosperous markets. In the documents, tech company employees write about their shame and frustration, the newspaper writes, pointing to decisions that mean that users can simply post videos of, for example, murders and videos inciting violence.
A spokesperson for Facebook told The Wall Street Journal that the company has “a comprehensive strategy in countries where there is a risk of conflict and violence” that includes global teams that speak more than 50 languages. There is also contact with local experts and fact checkers.
It is the business newspaper’s fourth story this week based on the internal documents. Where these come from is unknown. It started last Monday with the news that the platform is holding a double standard for public figures – from politicians to footballers.
The other pieces were about the impact of Instagram on teenage girls and what Facebook knows about it and the negative consequences of changes in the News Feed.