People buying boats on Facebook Marketplace to reach Britain illegally: Report

Facebook Marketplace, a platform introduced by the social networking giant in 2016 for its community to buy and sell items, is allegedly being used by smugglers and migrants to buy boats to cross the Channel from Calais (France) to come to Britain. If a Sunday report in The Telegraph is to be believed, groups of Iranians and Iraqis looking to organising their own Channel crossings favour Facebook Marketplace to buy boats as they get them much cheaper on the site.
The Telegraph report said dozens of small boats were for sale on Facebook within an hour’s drive of the French port city of Calais and for less than €15,000. With Marketplace allowing users to buy and sell within their local communities, it has become a favoured platform for the smugglers who can source their vessels from a nearby place.
On a single day, The Telegraph report said, it found online advertisements for 25 boats for sale, costing under €15,000,  within a 40-mile radius of Calais.
The border force staff detained six migrants on Sunday morning at a beach in Kingsdown, Kent, taking the number of migrants known to have attempted the crossing since Christmas eve to 100, said the report.
Facebook, meanwhile, said they took the issues raised by The Telegraph seriously.
A Facebook spokesperson told the leading UK daily that people smuggling was illegal and “any ads, posts, pages or groups that co-ordinate this activity are not allowed on Facebook”.
“We work closely with law enforcement agencies around the world including Europol to identify, remove and report this illegal activity, and we’re always improving the methods we use to identify content that breaks our policies, including doubling our safety and security team to 30,000 people and investing in technology,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

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