Facebook removes references to war crimes
Facebook removes references to war crimes

The black market for looted goods on Facebook is booming, and the company banned the sale of historic artifacts in June.

There are many Arab publications promoting these looted goods and the platform lacks the necessary expertise to properly implement its new policy.

Experts say that if Facebook can identify groups that violate its guidelines, it will only delete them and remove files important to researchers studying stolen art.

It's important evidence of war crimes, Katie Ball, co-director of the Antiquities Project, said, but Facebook created a problem. Instead of making something that can help, it makes the situation worse.

The Middle East region is rich in cultural and cultural relics, and its importance is not limited to the theft of art only, as looted cultural antiquities have become the main source of funding for terrorist organizations since 2014.

It is clear that drug smuggling and arms sales do not regulate the market for stolen goods.

On October 24, 2020, an art dealer in the Libyan city of Dina posted a series of ads selling Greco-Roman statues and marble busts with headdresses stolen from the museum.

Vendors have posted photos of these items in anti-smuggling Facebook groups with 5,000 to 18,000 members.

Through these groups the smugglers spread the thefts and advise each other on how to find buyers who are still illegal.

The Antiquities Project currently oversees 130 antiquities smuggling groups.

A message from a group of 340,000 in Syria revealed that thieves had discovered the mosaic. One user said in a comment: Mosaic should not be deleted while another user smiles and says: You are hungry for the history of the country.

In areas of active conflict, trafficking in cultural antiquities is a war crime and the problem is particularly serious.

If Facebook suppresses the evidence, researchers lose the ability to attribute cultural property to the victim's community and lose hope of identifying these criminals.

A researcher at the Syrian Archive (Geoff Deutch) said that the videos documented human rights violations. We are not saying that this content should always be published, but it is important to archive it.

“Researchers, human rights groups, academics, and lawyers should be able to use this content for legal accountability,” he added.

For art dealers, Facebook's Privacy Center has brought unexpected benefits, as criminals use secret groups and encrypted messages to conduct illegal activity.

The Archeology Project writes in a report: Facebook provides violent extremist organizations and criminal groups the opportunity to conduct large-scale operations without taking remedial action.

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