Things That Matter

Secret Facebook Group Shows Border Patrol Agents Mocking Death Of Migrants And Some People Are Demanding Answers

In a secret Facebook group for former and current Border Patrol officers, members joke, celebrate and make racist, xenophobic and sexist memes about the inhumane treatment of migrants, those who have died trying to reach our borders and the politicians who support immigration reform.

For the last three years, “I’m 10-15,” a name that alludes to the Border Patrol’s code 10-15 for “aliens in custody,” has functioned as a digital space for its 9,500 members to connect and have “funny” and “serious” discussions about work with the patrol, its introduction says, according to a report by ProPublica

The nonprofit investigative news outlet confirmed that many of the participants in the conversations had “legitimate Facebook profiles belonging to Border Patrol agents.”

On the page, members joked about the deaths of migrants. One member responded to a post about Carlos Gregorio Hernandez-Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant who died in custody at a Border Patrol station in Weslaco, Texas, with a GIF of Elmo saying “Oh well.” Another replied, “If he dies, he dies.”

Most recently, members questioned the validity of the death of Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez and his 23-month-old daughter, Valeria, who drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande in June, suggesting that the viral photo taken by the Associated Press of the father and daughter lying dead was altered. “I HAVE NEVER SEEN FLOATERS LIKE THIS,” they wrote.

The agents also use the page for violent attacks against politicians who have expressed support for migrants, largely Sen. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The congressional freshman, who has compared migrant detention centers to concentration camps, was repeatedly used as the subject of sexist memes and illustrations. In one, the Bronx Puerto Rican politician is seen performing oral sex on Donald Trump. In another, which was captioned “Lucky Illegal Immigrant Glory Hole Special Starring AOC,” she is depicted engaging in fellatio with a detained migrant.

In another post, participants discussed physically violating Ocasio-Cortez and Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar, who, alongside Rep. Joaquin Castro, is scheduled to tour a Border Patrol facility in Texas on Monday. Members posted a GoFundMe “for one CTX agent brave enough to throw a 10-15 burrito at one of these bitches.” Another member, who appears to be a patrol supervisor, responded, “Fuck the hoes.”

Ocasio-Cortez, who referred to the group as a “violent culture,” reflected on “I’m 10-15” on Twitter, saying, “There are 20,000 TOTAL Customs & Border Patrol agents in the US. 9,500 – almost HALF that number – are in a racist & sexually violent secret CBP Facebook group.”

She continued: “They’re threatening violence on members of Congress. How do you think they’re treating caged children+families?”

Castro, who is the head of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said the Facebook group confirms some of the worst criticisms of Customs and Border Protection. 

“These are clearly agents who are desensitized to the point of being dangerous to migrants and their co-workers,” he said, adding, members “don’t deserve to wear any uniform representing the United States of America.”

In a statement on Twitter, CBP announced it had opened an investigation into the matter.

“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see—and expect—from our agents day in and day out. Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable,” Border Patrol chief Carla Provost wrote.

Big Brands Drop Ads From Facebook To Demand The Platform To Join Fight Against Hate Speech

Things That Matter

Big Brands Drop Ads From Facebook To Demand The Platform To Join Fight Against Hate Speech

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Update June 29, 2020: The boycott on Facebook ads is growing faster than ever and reaching a global level. The growing demand for Facebook to target and handle hate speech and extremism on its platform has led to a far-reaching boycott of ads on the social media site.

The boycott of Facebook ads is going global.

Since the boycott was announced earlier this month, 160 companies have joined the #StopHateforProfit boycott targeting Facebook. Two major companies, Coca-Cola and Starbucks, say they are not part of the boycott. However, the two companies have announced that they will be pausing all ads on social media platforms for the month of July.

Starbucks is not officially part of the #StopHateforProfit movement but the decision is being praised by advocates.

The boycott is having a very real impact on Facebook’s business. Facebook stock lost more than $60 billion in value as more and more businesses cut advertising ties with the social media platform. The 9 percent drop in Facebook’s market prices prompted Facebook executives to begin tweaking some policies to go after hate speech.

Original: Facebook is in trouble as several major brands pull their ads from the social media platform. The coordinated move from the brands was in response to Facebook’s intentional inaction in curbing hate speech on the platform.

Facebook is facing financial troubles as major brands pull ads over the platform’s stance on hate speech.

The NAACP teamed up with other organizations to create the Stop Hate for Profit campaign. The campaign is aimed at Facebook and is calling on brands to separate from the social media platform for at least one month, July. The point of the campaign is to call out Facebook for their willingness to profit off of organizations that disseminate and amplify white nationalist rhetoric. Some of the rhetoric has been racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, and violent in nature.

“For five years, Color Of Change has called on Facebook to do the right thing and make their platform safer for the millions of Black people that use it,” reads a statement on the Color Of Change website. “From the monetization of hate speech to discrimination in their algorithms to the proliferation of voter suppression to the silencing of Black voices, Facebook has refused to take responsibility for hate, bias, and discrimination growing on their platforms.”

Brands are responding and pulling their ads from Facebook.

Recently, Verizon and Unilever joined the growing list of businesses pulling ads to stand up to Facebook’s monetization of hate speech. People have been demanding that Facebook do something to control the hate speech that has incited violence in recent years. Yet, Mark Zuckerberg, the creator of Facebook, refuses to curb the violent speech on the platform.

The Anti-Defamation League laid out the reasons they are calling for the boycott.

The ADL is calling on brands to drop Facebook ads to combat what is considered as a long history of amplifying hate speech. According to the league, the social media platform routinely recommends extremist pages to users, created a loophole to allow for climate change deniers to push anti-science conspriacy theories further, and, in one example, Facebook refused to take down Holocaust denial content.

The social media platform has long been criticized for allowing misinformation to manipulate elections around the world.

Cambridge Analytica is one of the most famous cases of this happening. In the Netflix documentary “The Great Hack,” dives deep into how the firm was able to use Facebook to spread intentional misinformation to sway elections around the world. People who worked for the tech firm testified that they were able to use Facebook to target individuals who could be swayed with false information to illicit a vote for their client. It happened in several countries, including the U.S. in the 2016 elections and the U.K. during the Brexit vote.

Facebook has so far decided to remain defiant in the face of calls to do better.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is not going to be changing their policies. Instead, the company is going to keep pushing forward with its current strategy of monetizing and helping to spread the extremist and dangerous rhetoric.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Carolyn Everson, the vice president of Global Business Group at Facebook, said, “We do not make policy changes tied to revenue pressure.” She continued: “We set our policies based on principles rather than business interests.”

READ: ICE Is Using Fake Facebook Accounts To Entrap Migrants Even Though Facebook Has Warned The Government To Stop

AOC Wins Primary Election In New York In Run For A Second Term In Congress

Things That Matter

AOC Wins Primary Election In New York In Run For A Second Term In Congress

Stephanie Keith / Getty Images

Voters of New York’s 14th District handed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a decisive victory. The incumbent, who is running for a second term in the House of Representatives, dominated the election. AOC’s victory proves that her 2018 win was not a fluke.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated her rivals in the New York Democratic primary.

The first-term congresswoman is the clear nominee for the Democratic ticket in November. With close to 20,000 more votes than her closest competitor, it is clear that voters of New York’s 14th District want AOC to continue to represent them in Congress. The young politician has become a household name because of her unapologetic progressive platform demanding change and justice.

AOC’s impressive victory is catching people’s attention across the country.

AOC proves that the majority of Americans are coming around to the progressive platform. The progressive platform includes Medicare For All, Immigration Reform, Police Reform, and The Green New Deal. Progressive candidates are running for office nationwide after experiencing the overwhelming progressive victories in 2018. Those midterm elections laid the groundwork for more of these politicians.

Leading up to the election, AOC’s primary challenger eft behind politics and tried to use personal attacks.

Michelle Caruso-Cabrera’s campaign embraced Wall Street money and it proved not to work. The former Republican was hoping to unseat AOC after switching parties a few years prior. Caruso-Cabrera faced backlash from Democratic voters because of her book “You Know I’m Right: More Money, Less Government.” The book advocates for eliminating Medicare and Social Security, which are two Republican talking points.

AOC has proven to be a force in American politics.

According to Congress.gov, AOC has sponsored 29 pieces of legislation. This includes H.R. 6989, which aims to prevent mergers between major corporations during the COVID-19 pandemic, and H.R. 7221, which aims to ban police officers from using chemical weapons on protesters.

Congratulations on your win, AOC!

It is all up to the voters in November when AOC will run for her second term against a Republican challenger.

READ: AOC Doesn’t Want Us To Go Back To 70-Hour Work Weeks When We Reopen The Economy