Facebook to Begin Drug Task Force and Monitor All Messages: Hoax


Picture Suggesting Facebook to Begin Drug Task Force and Monitor All Messages
Facebook to Begin Drug Task Force and Monitor All Messages

Story: 

Facebook Drug Task Force to begin Monitoring All Messages October 1st.

Beginning October 1st, Facebook will be implementing a drug task force designed to arrest those who buy and sell narcotics while using the online social networking site. Facebook is calling the group the Facebook Drug Task Force, or FDTF, and will be monitoring all postings and messages created by its users.

Picture Suggesting Facebook Monitoring
Facebook Monitoring

Analysis:

Links, stories and excerpts in circulation online state that Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg) has hired a bunch of snoops to begin a Drug Task Force that will monitor all user messages posted on the social networking platform – with an intention to detect and arrest the people who are buying and selling drugs/narcotics. The stories created panic among some people who thought monitoring their Facebook posts and private messages for references to drugs can be an intrusion, but the claims in the story are not facts.

The story in question originated from a 18th August 2014 article on website nationalreport.net, where it was reported that starting that October 1st, Facebook planned to work directly with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in order to put away ‘bad guys’ on the social networking platform. The report even included a ’24 hour hotline’ phone number to contact the drug force, which as a matter of fact, belonged to the Westboro Baptist Church. More importantly, the article in itself is a work of fiction published in the National Report, a satirical website, as mentioned in their disclaimer information. The article was later deleted though, but excerpts from the article surfaced again online in 2015, with few versions mentioning the date December 1st instead of October 1st, and kept circulating through social media sites. Coming to the picture supposedly showing ‘Facebook Police,’ it is edited, it simply shows a SWAT (Special Weapons And Tactics) team, as can be seen on mashable.com. In the Related Stories section below, you can see many such fake stories originating from the National Report website.

Screenshot of article on National Report website
Screenshot of article on National Report website

So Facebook did not start any Drug Task Force to monitor user messages to put away the ‘bad guys’, the claims originated from a satirical article. However, Facebook and other tech companies like Google do scan instant messages for criminal activity.

Hoax or Fact:

Hoax.

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References:

Potheads panic as ‘Facebook Drug Task Force’ rumours go viral


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Facebook to Begin Drug Task Force and Monitor All Messages: Hoax

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