Big Tech creating big danger? GOP lawmakers signal social media is ‘facilitating’ border crisis crimes

Cartels reportedly recruit drug, human traffickers through social platforms like TikTok, Twitter, WhatsApp

Republican lawmakers are calling out Big Tech and the Biden administration for their complicity in alleged crimes along the southern border, ultimately putting United States national security at risk.

"Big Tech has been facilitating the trafficking of women and children, they are facilitating the trafficking of narcotics," Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., said on "Mornings with Maria" Thursday. "Just three days ago in my own district, a mother gave her child, her toddler, candy that had been laced with fentanyl, and paramedics had to revive this child. This is happening all over the country."

Mexican criminal cartels are increasingly using social media to recruit people in the U.S. to help with their smuggling operations at the southern border, just as the U.S. is facing a historic migrant surge.

One TikTok video posted by the Texas Department of Public Safety reads, "Need someone who can drive an 18 wheeler right now McAllen to Houston already ready $70k."

Traffickers have also taken to Meta’s multiple platforms - including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp - to post advertisements that read in Spanish as, "I help with the crossing to [U.S.]," and, "I cross you to the United States 100% safe."


TikTok on iPhone screen

Big Tech companies like TikTok and Facebook are "facilitating" drug and human trafficking along the southern border, Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., said on "Mornings with Maria" Thursday, October 20, 2022. (Getty Images)

On that matter, Texas DPS spokesman Christopher Olivarez said that law enforcement has seen an uptick in recruitment videos on social media sites since last year.

"That is why we are experiencing an increase in human smuggling events along the border," Olivarez previously told Fox News Digital. "Many individuals from larger metropolitan areas such as Austin, Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and even out of state are being recruited as drivers through social media platforms to smuggle illegal immigrants."

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, who joined "Mornings with Maria" following Rep. Cammack on the program, Thursday, told host Maria Bartiromo that his state is starting to look like "the new Ellis Island."

"There were hundreds of people under a bridge and there were thousands of people in custody with no end in sight," Gonzales said of a recent visit to El Paso, Texas. "People were just walking over, walking back and forth like there was no border. This is what an America-last agenda looks like."

According to the congressman, the president of Guatemala has warned a recent migrant surge within their country "directly impacts" U.S. security after finding Afghan citizens in a Venezuelan caravan.

"So it's not just people from Venezuela. It's from all over the world," Gonzales said. "So it's dangerous to everyone involved."


Border agents arrest migrant smuggler

A Webb County Sheriffs Officer and U.S. Border Patrol arrest a man smuggling migrants in a vehicle on October 12, 2022 in Laredo, Texas. (Getty Images)

Both GOP lawmakers called out the Biden administration for its lack of policy action and general concern regarding the open border’s impact on U.S. crime and national security.

"The Democratic Party had this romance with what an open border looked like, and they're getting the realities of what an open border looks like, and they don't know what to do and they're completely overwhelmed," Gonzales slammed.

"You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes. They have created this border crisis," Rep. Cammack said. "They have allowed for these folks to come across illegally, and now they're bellyaching about the results. Every town in America is a border town because of the trafficker-in-chief."


Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee wrote to TikTok about both the use of the platform to recruit smugglers and also to threaten and stalk Border Patrol agents.

"It appears that via your platform cartel members are openly glorifying and normalizing illegal behavior and violence to recruit new members, most recently American teenagers," the letter read.

A TikTok spokesperson told Fox News Digital at that time: "TikTok strictly prohibits the promotion or facilitation of criminal activities, and we work with third-party intelligence firms to bolster identification of potential trafficking or smuggling and make reports to law enforcement as appropriate."

Facebook's community standards advise users not to post "content that offers or assists in smuggling of humans."

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a Senate hearing last year that the State Department has used Facebook to share factual information with users, that advertising smuggling services on the platform is against Facebook's policies, and that Facebook is "taking a lot of steps to stop it."

"Let me just say that I think that the situation at the border is really serious," Zuckerberg said, "and we're taking it very seriously."


Fox News’ Paul Best, Griff Jenkins, Adam Shaw and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.