TRUTH PUKE’S TAKE: A new research has found that Mexican drug cartels use Twitter to recruit new members, warn rival gangs, publish horrific photos and videos, and celebrate the narco lifestyle. Several of these accounts were blocked by Twitter’s safety team between 2012 and 2015, but since Elon Musk acquired the firm last year, they have been resurrected. The Alliance to Fight Crime Online (ACCO) is requesting that Twitter prohibit and erase narco-related information, as well as suspend accounts that distribute it. The report was released days after Mexico’s Gulf cartel murdered two of the four Americans they seized after they crossed the border. Dr. Nilda Garcia, associate professor of political science at Texas A&M International University and co-author of the paper, told BuzzFeed News that social media is a tool that helps and strengthens drug cartels by boosting their organizational and operational capacities.
Some of the cartels’ images looks to breach Twitter’s violent content guidelines, such as a video shot by a member of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, led by one of the world’s most-wanted drug barons, Nemesio Oseguera, showing the severed heads of rival cartel members being burned in a bonfire. According to the study, Twitter’s attempts to delete this information and restrict these accounts have decreased under Musk’s leadership. Gretchen Peters, executive director of the ACCO, said that Twitter should not serve as a forum for Mexican cartel members to promote their hatred and inspire murder. Under Musk’s leadership, thousands of previously banned accounts have been resurrected, including those of far-right individuals such as MyPillow Founder Mike Lindell and former Donald Trump advisor Steve Bannon. Unlike the Taliban, drug cartel members have not yet purchased blue checks, according to the report’s findings.
Garcia speculates that this is because gang members do not like to draw further attention and risk being deplatformed again. To assess whether accounts were authentic, she searched for indications of link with other cartel accounts and investigated the physical location of the accounts. Garcia is a specialist on the Sinaloa Cartel, which has a considerable presence on Twitter.
Rena “la Rana” Arzate Garcia, a member of the Sinaloa Cartel, uses an FBI wanted poster as his Twitter banner to recruit new members. The Cartel del Noreste has used its Twitter accounts to aggressively recruit new members, putting recruiting ads in its Twitter biographies and urging anybody interested to join the cartel’s Discord. The ACCO intended to expose cartel connections to Twitter only after delivering its report and evidence to politicians and authorities, including the Federal Trade Commission, to prevent the platform from deleting them and allowing the evidence to vanish. Garcia said she doesn’t know whether Elon Musk is aware of this information on his recently purchased platform, but if he were informed, he would take action.
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