Facebook Moves To Prevent Antiquities Looting. Critics Say It's Not Enough
His facebook doing enough to stop the trade in looted antiquities. FACEBOOK is announced new rules to crack down on that aggressive trade. As we're about to hear some people used the social media site to sell ancient artifacts. They haven't even dug up yet. We should note that facebook is among, NPR's financial supporters. We covered all the same NPR's Jane Arraf has this report Kamenica ruin. My medically. Heavier. Video posted on facebook of an elaborate Roman era mosaic, the mythological figures and animals in colored glass and stone are still vivid two thousand years later. You can hear the voice of the man describing it, but you can't see him. Then, the video pans out to show the mosaic offered for sale is still in the ground uncovered in a field of dirt and rocks. I, mean they're showing to you in situ. This is the from an archaeological excavation. That's Amaral. Azam, an archaeologist and professor at Shawnee State. University in Ohio as Syrian. syrian-american says, the mosaic is in northwestern, Syria where there's been fighting and looting of antiquities for years. Mosaics are very common item that are often offered for sale on facebook either on individual pages or in these groups that are dedicated to either selling of looted antiquities or these groups that are dedicated to basically crowdsourcing information on how to Ludwig Lud- as is the CO director of the Authority Project Authority, Arabic means antiquities, but the acronym stands for antiquities trafficking and heritage anthropology research. The organization is tracked at least ninety five facebook groups dealing in looted antiquities many from conflict zones including. Syria, Libya and Yemen facebook has prohibited the sale of things like drugs, guns, and wildlife on its pages. But until recently, not illicit cultural property, just late June. The company announced that it would add historical artifacts to the ban tests. Davis, IT -SECUTIVE director of the antiquities coalition. An organization aimed at combating cultural racketeering calls it. A good first step now is particularly critical time because the Cobra nineteen crisis, it hasn't spared anything including our cultural heritage and above board dealers, galleries, auction houses, even museums there on shuddered on the international black market is staying wide open for business and in particular facebook never shuts down facebook, which also extended the Bantu Instagram, which owns declined interviews on its new policy. Davis's stopping looting isn't just about antiquities, the US government, the United Nations pretty much all of the world's international community is an agreement that looting and trafficking is helping to finance terrorism. It's also facilitating other crimes like money laundering, and there's a documented connection to atrocity crimes including genocide. These groups say the problem is that facebook relies on complaints from users to alert to trafficking. It doesn't actively look for band content, and if it does act on a complaint and takes down opposed facebook doesn't preserve it. The company did say, would preserve the post if asked by law enforcement. Meanwhile Amaral. Explained that knowledge is irretrievably lost. When facebook deletes the posts, they're not part of documented collections that have been excavated probably by archaeologist photographs, and there's a record of. What has ever eyes on these items. When you see this picture on facebook and once items soul, it disappeared because it's looted, any may never be seen again. This is a video posted on facebook from upper, Egypt of an elaborately painted Sarah Office for sale. Inside, is a mummy human remains, thousands of years old. It's one of about a dozen pose that as a Thar co-director. Katie Paul have reported to facebook as violating facebook policy. Since the ban came into force screen shots of the exchanges show that facebook found that only one should be taken down. We focused on post that explicitly said for sale in Arabic were in groups that said, integrity for sale said things like how much or price to make very clear that these were explicit sales of these illicit items. Some they've reported are both into quickies and human remains, which facebook also says, it bans I open up on my computer. One of the pages that poll reported it's been up for three years. They're shipping rates and prices and an amateur video showing what they call. Tibetan antiques. Just, any antique. So host after post of jewelry and objects made from human bones. Here's one with six views of a human skull. Another one of jewelry. Hashtag. Skull, Hashtag Bone, Hash tag, human bones, hashtag human bones for sale. Unfortunately, the sales of human skulls artifacts made of human skulls were left up and deemed to not violate FACEBOOK's community standards. The post was taken down only after NPR asked facebook about it. A points out for us, sellers with shops on facebook. The company charges a commission. FACEBOOK doesn't have an artificial intelligence program for antiquities like it does with other bound items and it doesn't hire experts who can easily recognize looted antiquities archaeologist. I'm real. points out that the company relies purely on user complaints. Can you imagine how much worn formation is on the back end of all this that they have access to? This is a multibillion dollar entity and they won't invest in cleaning up their own side. They're going to rely on to people who have day jobs who spend their evening scarring facebook for evidence of crimes. FACEBOOK spokesperson. Chris, Davis acknowledged that the company needs to improve it system. A former was one of the organizations facebook consulted with in devising the ban on antiquities traded announced in June. The conservation groups say that doesn't do much good unless it enforces its new rules. Jane Arraf NPR News, Amman Jordan.