Is Facebook Selling Ads That Facilitate Illegal Wildlife Trafficking Of Elephant Ivory & Other Endangered Animal Parts?

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify today in front of congressional committees regarding alleged weaknesses of the company’s privacy controls and the possibility that Russians were able to manipulate the network during the 2016 presidential election in the United States, another serious allegation has emerged against the organization.

This morning, ABC News was one of many outlets that ran an Associated Press article claiming that Facebook features advertisements for the sale of parts from threatened and endangered animals, including elephant ivory, rhino horn, and tiger teeth.

This, as previously reported by WAN, after Facebook was recently recognized as one of 20 prominent technology companies that joined the Global Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online.

“The amount of ivory being traded on Facebook is horrifying,” Gretchen Peters, executive director of the Center on Illicit Networks and Transnational Organized Crime, told AP explaining that the organization has analyzed online groups where wildlife goods are being marketed. “I have looked at thousands of posts containing ivory, and I am convinced that Facebook is literally facilitating the extinction of the elephant species.”

AP obtained a copy of the complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in which Facebook is reportedly accused of allowing the use of the network to facilitate this illegal activity, which, in turn, violates the social network’s responsibilities as a publicly traded company.

Stephen Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center also weighed in claiming that Facebook is not “an innocent bystander to these crimes” and is well aware of the situation.

According to trafficking investigators, there has been no decline in the illegal products offered for sale on Facebook since the company assured the public it would take severe measures against it.

They are reportedly requesting that federal security regulators force Facebook to freeze the accounts that are being used by illegal traffickers and to cooperate with international law enforcement to identify the criminals so that they can be prosecuted.

WAN will continue to update this story as more information is made available.

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