As a publicly traded company, social media giant Facebook has certain obligations and responsibilities to closely monitor what crosses its platform in order to prevent illicit and illegal activity. But the company has been utterly failing in this regard, with one of the latest examples being its allowance of pages on the site that operate black market sales of endangered wildlife body parts.
A screenshot that’s been making the mainstream media rounds shows buckets of tiger teeth being offered for sale, which represents an illegal activity. Conservation and wildlife preservation groups quickly took notice, and immediately filed complaints with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) asking that action be taken to stop it.
The complaint states that these illegal sales not only violate the law, but also Facebook’s own policies as they pertain to allowable activity on the social network. Facebook has yet to respond to requests for comments about this issue, though Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has been busy lately testifying about other problems with the site, including its flagrant disregard for user privacy.
A copy of the complaint, which was captured by The Associated Press (AP), reveals that it was initially filed by an undercover informant represented by the National Whistleblower Center (NWC), a nonprofit legal advocacy group. The identify of this informant, who captured video of face-to-face meetings with wildlife traffickers doing business over Facebook, remains confidential for the protection of this individual.
When questioned about whether or not the complaint prompted the SEC to initiate an investigation, the federal agency also refused to comment. But it’s pretty clear at this point that Facebook is complicit in these crimes based on the simple fact that it’s done nothing, and continues to do nothing, to try to stop them.
“Facebook is not an innocent bystander to these crimes,” says Stephen Kohn, executive director of NWC. “Facebook sold advertisements on the very pages (on which) the illegal ivory was being marketed.”
What’s even more outrageous is Facebook’s recent joining of the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online, which was organized by Google and the World Wildlife Fund. Along with 20 other technology companies, Facebook is taking a stand against illegal wildlife trafficking – but only in word, as opposed to deed.
At the same time that Facebook has been paying lip service to saving the animals, an AP reporter was able to see “scores” of internationally banned wildlife products for sale on Facebook, both in public and private Facebook groups. Most of these are apparently based in Southeast Asia.
Among the items for sale are belts made from what appeared to be the fur of Bengal tigers, a critically endangered species of which there are only about 2,500 still living in the wild. Also for sale on Facebook are horns collected from black rhinos, another very rare species that’s heavily targeted by poachers throughout Africa. Only about 5,000 of these animals still remain.
As illegal traders attempt to engage in the sale of such items, they often use Facebook services like Messenger, WhatsApp, and even Instagram to seal the deal. This means that pretty much the full suite of Facebook software is facilitating this illegal underground trade ring, and the company has yet to take any formidable steps to try to stop it – even though it’s gone way overboard in trying to suppress free speech.
“Trafficking investigators say they have seen no drop off in the illegal products offered for sale on Facebook after prior public pledges by the company to crack down,” reports Yahoo News.
“They are calling on federal security regulators to force Facebook to immediately freeze accounts being used by illegal traffickers and cooperate with international law enforcement to identify the individuals involved for prosecution.”
Read FacebookCollapse.com for more coverage of the decline of Facebook.
Sources for this article include: