Facebook says it is in the midst of a fight against "fake news" on its platform, but has allowed activists to raise nearly $20 million for migrants using a photo that is incorrectly said to show a daughter being separated from her mother.
The fundraiser, "Reunite an immigrant parent with their child," asks Facebook users to donate money to RAICES, a charity described by USA Today as "a Texas nonprofit that helps families with legal advice and translation services." The organizers of the viral fundraiser are reportedly a couple working in the tech industry in Silicon Valley.
The donation page for the fundraiser uses a now-iconic photograph of a two-year-old girl crying as her mother is searched by U.S. Border Patrol. The mainstream media presumed that the girl and her mother were separated.
However, news broke Thursday that the mother and daughter were never separated, and were in fact in U.S. custody at a family residential facility in Texas.
Furthermore, it emerged that the mother had been previously deported in the U.S. According to her husband in Honduras, she left him and three other children in early June without informing him, paying $6,000 to a "coyote" smuggler to take her northwards so she could seek better economic opportunities.
The photograph, by John Moore of Getty Images, is real - and Getty only claimed that the mother and daughter had faced "possible separation." However, the story the media and activists had woven around the image is not accurate.
As of Thursday evening, the Facebook fundraiser had collected $17,794,627 - making it by far the single largest crowdfunding event in the history of the social media platform. The photograph was still being used to advertise the fundraiser, with the clear implication that the crying child in the photograph had been separated from her parents.
Facebook has come under criticism in recent months from conservatives, who allege that the company is pursuing a policy of censorship under the guise of improving the accuracy of information shared by users on the platform.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News.