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Tag: facebook

CBP Investigating 62 Border Patrol Agents Who Used Demeaning Facebook Page

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 62 current and eight former Border Patrol employees are accused of joining a private Facebook group and other social media pages that mocked migrants and lawmakers.

CBP officials said most of employees were part of a secret Facebook group called “I’m 10-15,” which included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

In one post, commenters questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

Investigators are reviewing images, memes and comments posted on multiple Facebook groups, said Matthew Klein, a Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner.

“To be clear, the expectations of professional conduct don’t end at the end of the shift,” Klein told journalists. “Those are our expectations of our employees.”

The case was referred to Homeland Security’s watchdog group, which chose not to investigate and returned the case to CBP.

ProPublica first reported on “I’m 10-15,” which had roughly 9,500 members.

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, who originally responded with repulsion, also posted on the page.

Border Patrol Chief Not Only Knew about Secret FB Page, She Posted on It

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost responded with repulsion when a news agency discovered a secret Facebook group filled with racist, demeaning and sexist content.

“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,” Provost said in a statement after Intercept revealed the group’s vulgar messages. “Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

Turns out, Provost posted on the Facebook group’s page, known as “I’m 10-15,” two months after she was appointed to lead the agency. The group is for current and former border agents.

While her comments were harmless, her posts show she knew about the group before Intercept wrote about it.

The Facebook group included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
 One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

In one post, commenters questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

When ProPublica approached CBP about the Facebook group, Provost pledged to launch an investigation.

Last week, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter asking Homeland Security’s office to investigate whether Provost or any other leaders previously knew about the group.

Thompson responded to Intercept after it revealed Provost posted on the page.

“This is why I have requested a full investigation into this matter,” Thompson said in a statement. “We need to know who in CBP leadership knew about these deplorable groups, when did they find out, and what action they took, if anything.”

Homeland Security: CBP Agents Disciplined for Offensive Facebook Posts

Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on ABC’s “This Week.”

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection agents who posted offensive and sexually demeaning content on Facebook have been disciplined, acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told ABC’s “This Week.”

McAleenan said some agents were placed on “administrative duties” and others were warned to stop the conduct in letters. He did not specify how many agents were involved.

“The agents will be held accountable if they are CBP employees who did inappropriate things. I don’t think it’s reflective of the men and women we have,” McAleenan said.

The Facebook page, called “I’m 10-15,” was first reported by ProPublica on Monday. The page is used by current and former agents.

The Facebook group included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
 One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

Commenters also questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

When ProPublica approached CBP about the Facebook group, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost denied knowing about it and pledged to launch an investigation.

But Politico reported that CBP officials knew about a secret, sexist and demeaning Facebook group for at least three years. In 2016, Border Patrol agents reported offensive photos that included simulated sex acts and other offensive material, a current Homeland Security official told Politico.

McAleenan on Sunday said he “was not aware of this group” at the time. Since then, he claimed, one agent was disciplined.

Politico received screenshots of Facebook posts that were reported to CBP. One agent appeared in two photos, one of which showed him simulating sex with a training mannequin. The other showed the agent smiling and posing with what appeared to be a human skull. In a third photo, an agent appeared to be defecting in the Arizona desert.

The reported photos resulted in a now-closed investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility.

CBP Aware of Secret, Offensive Facebook Group for Years

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection officials knew about a secret, sexist and demeaning Facebook group for at least three years but declined to say whether anyone was disciplined.

In 2016, Border Patrol agents reported offensive photos that included simulated sex acts and other offensive material, a current Homeland Security official told Politico. A former DHS officials also said he knew about the Facebook group during the past year.

Neither official was aware of any serious actions taken against members of the group, called “I’m 10-15,” which was first reported by ProPublica on Monday.

The Facebook group included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

In one post, commenters questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

When ProPublica approached CBP about the Facebook group, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost denied knowing about it and pledged to launch an investigation.

Politico received screenshots of Facebook posts that were reported to CBP. One agent appeared in two photos, one of which showed him simulating sex with a training mannequin. The other showed the agent smiling and posing with what appeared to be a human skull.

In a third photo, an agent appeared to be defecting in the Arizona desert.

The reported photos resulted in a now-closed investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility. But a CBP spokesperson declined to say whether any disciplinary action was taken.

CBP Investigates Offensive Posts on Border Patrol Facebook Group

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is investigating a secret and offensive Facebook group reportedly used by current and former Border Patrol agents.

ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative news outlet, revealed the group, which included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One of the posts included an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Commenters also questioned the authenticity of a viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

Ocasio-Cortez said the posts reflect “a violent culture.”

“This isn’t just about ‘a few bad eggs,'” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “This is a violent culture.”

Border Patrol chief Carla Provost slammed the social media page as “completely inappropriate.”

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

Matthew Klein, assistant commissioner of the Office of Professional Responsibility, cited CBP’s Standard of Conduct, which states, “Employees will not make abusive, derisive, profane, or harassing statements or gestures, or engage in any other conduct evidencing hatred or invidious prejudice to or about one person or group on account of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or disability. This includes comments and posts made on private social media sites.”

“Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection was made aware of disturbing social media activity hosted on a private Facebook group that may include a number of CBP employees,” Klein said. “CBP immediately informed DHS Office of the Inspector General and initiated an investigation.”

Facebook Reveals New Coordinated Disinformation Campaign Ahead of Midterm Elections

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Facebook revealed Tuesday that it uncovered a new coordinated disinformation campaign potentially targeting the midterm elections.

The company said the campaign involved dozens of fake accounts on its social media platform. In a statement posted on Facebook, the company said it removed 32 pages and accounts from its platform and Instagram “because they were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior.” 

Facebook said the accounts were targeting protests planned in Washington D.C. next week.

The company is uncertain of the source of the fake accounts and is investigating.

The discovery comes at a time when federal agencies in the U.S. said Russia continues to spread disinformation to divide Americans.

Facebook found:

  • In total, more than 290,000 accounts followed at least one of these Pages, the earliest of which was created in March 2017. The latest was created in May 2018.
  • The most followed Facebook Pages were “Aztlan Warriors,” “Black Elevation,” “Mindful Being,” and “Resisters.” The remaining Pages had between zero and 10 followers, and the Instagram accounts had zero followers.
  • There were more than 9,500 organic posts created by these accounts on Facebook, and one piece of content on Instagram.
  • They ran about 150 ads for approximately $11,000 on Facebook and Instagram, paid for in US and Canadian dollars. The first ad was created in April 2017, and the last was created in June 2018.
  • The Pages created about 30 events since May 2017. About half had fewer than 100 accounts interested in attending. The largest had approximately 4,700 accounts interested in attending, and 1,400 users said that they would attend.

Russian Trolls Make Resurgence on Social Media to Interfere with Special Counsel Probe

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Russian-linked social media accounts that spread immeasurable propaganda during the 2016 presidential election are making a comeback in an escalating campaign to influence the investigations of possible ties between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin.

Two top Democrats sent a letter to Twitter and Facebook earlier this month, warning that Russian-linked accounts are cropping up in alarming numbers to spread information intended to undermine investigations by congressional committees and  special counsel Robert Mueller.

“It is critically important that the Special Counsel’s investigation be allowed to proceed without interference from inside or outside the United States,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff, both of California, in the letter, according to CNBC.

Each serves on a committee investigation Russian interference during the election.

Thousands of automated accounts, called bots, have cropped up lately in response to the widening investigations that have reached the White House.

Many of them have joined a viral hashtag campaign – #ReleaseTheMemo – to press for the public disclosure of a Republican memorandum that claims the FBI and Justice Department are tainted by political biases. On Monday, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee voted to publicly release the secret, much-disputed memo that alleges the agencies abused their authority by extending surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser and suspected Russian agent Carter Page.

The vote, along party lines, ignored Justice Department warnings that the release would be “extraordinarily reckless” because the memo draws from classified information. 

The lawmakers expressed concern that the reemergence of Russian bots “are intended to influence congressional action and undermine Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation,” of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

Russian-linked trolls also are spreading content from Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has relentlessly blasted the intelligence agencies for alleged anti-Trump biases, Mother Jones reported, basing the information on data compiled by the nonpartisan Alliance for Security Democracy. 

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded last year that Russia launched an aggressive, sophisticated smear campaign designed to disseminate disinformation on social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Google. The propaganda targeted controversial subjects such as police brutality, Black Lives Matter, immigration and Muslims.

Wired reported earlier this month that Mueller’s team interviewed at least one member of Facebook’s team connected Trump’s campaign as part of the investigation into Russian interference.

During a series of congressional hearings last year, Twitter, Facebook and Google were criticized by lawmakers for failing to take steps to eliminate the Russian propaganda campaign.

Twitter plans to notify nearly 700,000 users who interacted with suspected Russian propagandists.

Other Stories of Interest

Suburban Mom Accused of Threatening FBI Mole on Facebook

Data securityBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A suburban Chicago mother of seven faces federal cyberstalking charges for allegedly urging Facebook followers to kill a gang member-turned-FBI mole for helping put behind bars an associate of hers accused of trying to sell semiautomatic rifles stolen from a freight train.

Iesha Stenciel, 38, also faces a gun charge after she was found carrying a bag containing an AR 15-type assault rifles stolen from a Chicago train in September 2016, the Associated Press reports

Brian Stafford was arrested in October 2016 for allegedly telling the informant that he was in possession of the stolen rifles. Following the arrest, Stenciel is accused of posting the Facebook threats.

“Snitches get stitches and found in ditches,” one posting allegedly said, followed by 11 handgun emojis.

Stenciel later claimed the postings were fantasies, not legitimate threats.

Facebook is “a cyber fantasy community where you can live out any fantasy with no real means or intent of carrying anything out,” she wrote to a federal judge in a letter in July.

The AP wrote:

Filings aren’t clear about whether Stafford or Stanciel, both of whom have previous criminal records, played a direct role in the 2016 theft. The guns had been loaded in Atlantic City, New Jersey, two days before the train stopped in Chicago. The thieves also made off with several TVs.

The filings describe Stanciel and Stafford as “associates” but don’t offer details. Stanciel, of Aurora, and Stafford, from the Chicago suburb of Bellwood, have both pleaded not guilty. Stafford faces gun possession charges.

The informant, working with the FBI, agreed to pay Stafford $4,000 for the three rifles, court filings said. The informant wore audio and video devices during the exchange of the money and guns at Stafford’s home on Oct. 23 last year, and Stafford was arrested later that day.