Report: Social media playing a role in fueling migration crisis on border

Nation and World News

(NewsNation Now) — A new report claims social media platforms such as Facebook are encouraging illegal migrant smuggling and promoting hatred toward migrants, further turning up the heat on the social media giant in the wake of a company whistleblower coming forward this week.

The report, from Border Report, a Nexstar website that reports on issues concerning the country’s Southern border, shows finding human trafficking routes, modes of transit, and even discounts is as easy as a simple scroll through social media.

NewsNation’s partner at the borderreport.com, Sandra Sanchez, says websites such as Facebook offer free promotion for smugglers looking to lure potential customers.

“One of the group chats was called Caravan 2021,” Sanchez said. “Now, the words were written in Spanish, but anyone who spoke Spanish and who came across that group would recognize it. Aside from just allowing the opportunity for them to talk in this chat, they can also (direct message) the trafficker, who can say, ‘Meet me at this certain location. Here’s the price.’”

Sanchez called this “free advertising” but warned about misinformation. She has seen just how harmful it can be.

“I was in Del Rio for a week,” Sanchez said. “I was on the bridge, I saw thousands of migrants below me, you know, crying hungry. They were destitute, they were making tents out of chorizo cane. They all thought that if they crossed the Rio Grande from Ciudad Acuña right into Del Rio that they would be admitted into the United States and they weren’t”

Several cybersecurity and migration experts are now urging Congress to act. They say Facebook, in particular, can and should do more to patrol its platform.

Katie Paul, the director of Tech Transparency Project, sent NewsNationNow.com the following statement:

“Facebook’s dominance in Latin America paired with their repeated failures tackling misinformation and crime has contributed to the surge of migrants at the border. As we have seen from the recent whistleblower reports, Facebook was aware of how its platform was used to facilitate human trafficking of vulnerable populations. Facebook chose not to act, quite literally sacrificing people for profit.”

Katie Paul

Some of the actions these groups want to see include Facebook being required to remove hateful disinformation and posts that show intolerance for asylum seekers. They also want the social media giant to ban groups that target migrants and vulnerable populations by encouraging them to illegally migrate to the United States.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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