DEA Administrator Anne Milgram claimed during a town hall on CNN on Tuesday that drug cartel “traffickers and the ones selling it for them are all over social media” and that social media firms aren’t doing enough to stop this. She spoke specifically about the fact that Snapchat has declined to provide the agency or any outside experts with access to the technology used to deactivate drug dealers’ accounts.
According to Milgram, “one of the things the cartels are doing is flooding the United States with fentanyl, and one of the things they’re doing is having their traffickers and the people who sell it for them be all over social media. So, in the past, someone who wanted to buy narcotics had to go to an open-air market or know a dealer. Now, a drug dealer practically lives in the pocket of every single American who owns a cell phone or smartphone. Social media networks, where hundreds of millions of Americans are active daily, is currently the most dangerous place in the country.”
Later, she continued, “In my opinion, the social media firms are not doing nearly enough to stop the harm. We have observed that they have options for taking action. They had previously stopped terrorism videos. Through legislative laws, we’ve seen changes in areas like human trafficking. They haven’t been prepared to accept responsibility for what their sites are or what happens on them every day, in my opinion, up to this moment.”
Then, in response to Snapchat’s claim that they are doing their part and are employing cutting-edge technology to deactivate drug traffickers’ accounts, Milgram responded, “We know that’s not true. Social media is used by all of us. We regularly discover posts that have been on every social media platform for days, weeks, or months when we conduct investigations into offenses that originate from social media. It’s also unacceptable. There needs to be more responsibility, in my opinion. I think they’re assuring us they’re doing everything they can, but they won’t show us that technology, even after considering what you just said. They won’t permit the entry of outside specialists. At this time, they won’t let auditors or other people in who could truly help them improve their platforms. And that is inadmissible. Between August 2021 and August 2022, 107,735 [American lives] were lost, according to our calculations. Whatever they’re doing is not enough.”