Social Media Platforms Responsibility in Stolen Converter Market
Theft of catalytic converters has increased as the value of these systems has become more widely recognized. Every gasoline-powered vehicle’s catalytic converter is a target due to the precious metal content found within, like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Depending on the make, a scrap catalytic converter can be sold for a few hundred to thousands of dollars. That monetary value to criminals is sufficient to justify the risk of them being stolen from your vehicle. The question isn’t why these criminals are stealing your catalytic converter; it’s what’s stopping them from stealing a converter from your vehicle and selling it on the internet via social media.
On social media platforms, you will find hundreds of accounts aiming to sell catalytic converters. On Facebook, for example, catalytic converter buyers and sellers can opt into private groups where they chat about the converters, they have pulled in. No questions regarding where the converter in the auction came from, just buyers commenting on prices that they are willing to pay. On other social media platforms, you can find people posting images of catalytic converters looking for direct messages to make a sale happen. On platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, it is already commonplace to find people attempting to sell stolen goods by padding them off as legitimately acquired. In some reported cases, the items being sold are far more dangerous than catalytic converters. An example is that in 2019, a 17-year-old was arrested after stealing several firearms from a residence and selling them on Snapchat.
Social media platforms, without realizing it, create an ecosystem in which criminals feel safe to sell stolen catalytic converters and potentially other items. Social media is not intended to police our streets and keep us all safe, but technology and popularity do introduce new problems every day that merit brainstorming solutions for. Because catalytic converters that have been used can never be used again by law, posting images of scrap converters when you are not a legitimate business would not benefit anyone.
Also, as catalytic converter theft concerns most people who operate a gasoline-powered vehicle, it is worth considering solutions to combat theft. Social media platforms like Facebook that also offer a marketplace without a vetting process make it exceptionally easy to sell stolen catalytic converters. Maybe posting scrap catalytic converters on social media should be prohibited unless you are a registered business. Private parties scouring online marketplaces for used catalytic converters are most likely looking to purchase them for cheap and resell them to a legitimate recycling company for a higher profit. Currently, social media platforms are not doing enough to combat purchasing and selling of stolen catalytic converters.
Should social media companies prohibit the sale of all used catalytic converters and vet all catalytic converter-related posts? Let us know are your thoughts.