Facebook Criticized For Not Cooperating With U.N. To Catch Somali Pirates

| by Asia Smith
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A new report issued to the United Nations Security Council on Friday suggests that social media site Facebook is not cooperating enough with the Somali government to curb piracy.

In part of the annual report produced by the United Nations Monitoring Group for Somalia, which analyzes the effect of efforts made to revive the fractured nation, experts discussed the complex system that makes up the shadowy world of Somali piracy.

The report stated that, contrary to common thought, piracy “entails much more than armed youngsters at sea in small boats attacking ships or providing armed protection aboard hijacked vessels.” Piracy has, instead, become a relatively sophisticated network with “facilitators internationally and inside Somalia from multiple layers of society,” including “bankers, telecommunications gents, businessmen of various kinds, politicians, clan elders, translators or aid workers, all using their regular occupations or positions to facilitate one or another network.”

The report suggests that the various cogs in the Somali networks often communicate and coordinate activities via social media, using sites like Facebook. However, the Monitoring Group’s report accuses Facebook of being uncooperative in tracking its users involved in the crime rings and their communications with each other.

“Despite repeated official correspondence addressed to Facebook Inc., it has never responded to monitoring group requests to discuss information on Facebook accounts belonging to individuals involved in hijackings and hostage-taking,” stated the report, though other companies had provided them with “active and comprehensive support.” The social media giant has been known to provide information for government and law enforcement officials within the United States.

Although Facebook’s refusal to participate may hinder the process of completely dispatching Somali piracy, the report also notes that piracy in the Indian Ocean is on an overall decline, with the number of attempted attacks falling from 237 in 2011 to only 75 since then. “It appears that the heyday of Somali piracy may be over,” the report stated.

Sources: MSN, Think Progress