During a town hall on CNN on Tuesday, DEA Administrator Anne Milgram stated that drug cartel “traffickers and the people selling it for them are all over social media” and that social media companies are failing to do enough to stop this. She specifically mentioned that Snapchat has failed to show the agency or any outside experts the technology they use to take down drug dealers’ accounts.
Milgram said, “So, one of the things we’ve seen is that the cartels are flooding the U.S. with fentanyl, and one of the things they’re doing is their traffickers and the people selling it for them are all over social media. So, it used to be that someone who was purchasing drugs would go into an open-air drug market or have to know a dealer. Now, every single American that has a cell phone, a smartphone, literally has a drug dealer in their pocket. There is no more dangerous place right now in the United States than social media sites where hundreds of millions of Americans are on every day.”
She later added, “The social media companies, in my view, are not doing nearly enough to stop the harm. We have seen that there are ways that they can take action. In the past, they had stopped terrorism videos. We’ve seen changes that have come in things like human trafficking through congressional laws. What they have not been willing to do up until this point in time, in my view, is take responsibility for what their sites are — what’s happening on their sites every day.”
Milgram then reacted to a statement by Snapchat that they are doing their part and are using the latest technology to shut down drug dealers’ accounts by stating, “We know that’s not accurate. We are all over social media. We’re doing investigations of cases that come from social media, and we routinely are finding posts that are on all of the social media platforms for days, for weeks, for months. And it is unacceptable. I believe there has to be greater accountability. I believe that — even think about what you just said, that they’re telling us that they’re doing everything they can and they won’t show us that technology. They won’t let outside experts come in. They will not, at this point, allow auditors or others who could actually help them improve their platforms come in. And that can’t be acceptable. We’re talking about 107,735 [American lives] lost between August of 2021 and August of 2022. Whatever they’re doing is not enough.”
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett