It wasn’t all that long ago when you could buy or sell firearms on Facebook. I sold a few when times were lean by posting a pic of the gun and my asking price in a handful of groups dedicated to just that. Most sellers in Georgia would give you a discount if you had a carry permit, which had the added benefit of making sure someone wasn’t a criminal.
Then, one day, Facebook ended the practice.
Oh, those transactions still happened. Some people got creative and sold a can of Coke for $300, but it came with a free Glock, for example. After a time, though, those even seemed to fizzle down.
Now, Facebook has other issues. The social media giant is being blasted for their meddling in political debates and their profound censorship efforts. A lot of people are pretty displeased with Facebook.
Now, it seems the Chicago PD is upset with them for a completely different reason.
Chicago police are trying to rid the city’s streets of illegal guns and drugs, but Facebook is making their job all the more difficult, officers said Tuesday.
Over the course of a two-year investigation — code-named “Operation FaceBOOKED” — officers arrested 53 people involved with illegal gun and drug sales in hidden groups on the social media site. While Facebook shut down the groups in question, the site refuses to block the members of those groups, police say.
“Social media conglomerates like Facebook are encouraging this type of illegal activity by turning a blind eye in the name of member privacy,” said interim superintendent Charlie Beck, who took office Monday night following the firing of Chicago’s former police chief Eddie Johnson.
Officers also expressed frustration with Facebook for shutting down the fake profiles of undercover officers, saying the site should allow law enforcement to operate with covert identities for the public good.
OK, so let’s dissect this a bit.
First, the Chicago PD is upset that Facebook is applying its rules regarding the use of your real identity universally and that is a problem? Now, I get it to some degree, but the problem is that if Facebook figured out those weren’t real profiles, I promise you that someone else already had it worked out. They don’t just jump on that out of the blue. Someone reports it to Facebook, then Facebook gets involved.
I hate to break it to you, but that cover was blown from the start.
Next, they’re upset that Facebook isn’t killing accounts of people who aren’t known to have necessarily broken any of their rules, only existed in groups were rule-breaking was taking place? As someone in a few groups that tend to post things that run against Facebook’s biases, I’m actually OK with them not doing that. Absent evidence of them breaking the rules in some manner, there’s no reason for them to do any such thing.
Frankly, it sounds like the Chicago PD wants Facebook to do their job for them.
However, some perspective might be in order. For example, if Facebook did exactly what the police wanted regarding these groups, all it would do is force these clowns to find another venue, and they would.
Further, regarding undercover officers, let’s assume that Facebook agreed to allow officers to use false identities. The company would, of course, have to keep records of that sort of thing. Otherwise, it would be one of those things where profiles keep getting pinged for the same thing over and over again, right?
Does the Chicago Police Department really trust Facebook with that information? I sure as hell wouldn’t. One data breach and every undercover officer is compromised.
So really, the police in Chicago probably need to chill the hell out.