Anti-gun lobbyists are asking Facebook and Instagram to change their policies about selling firearms.
It’s already against policy to sell firearms officially, but groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America have pointed to incidents where sales occur anyways. They want Facebook and Instagram to pay more attention to illegal sales, as VentureBeat reports. Moms Demand Action has already gathered over 91,000 signatures asking the social platforms to make it tougher to trade firearms.
And Facebook is paying attention. “You can’t buy things on Instagram and Facebook, nor can you promote the sale or use of weapons in advertising,” a Facebook spokesperson told VentureBeat. “We encourage people who come across any illegal activity to report it to us.”
This isn’t the first time Instagram has felt pressure: last November, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Ma.) wrote a letter imploring Instagram to halt the sale of guns.
Still, a simple hashtag search of #gunsforsale gets thousands of results on Instagram alone. And Facebook currently hosts a group called Gunz For Sale that has over 206,000 likes. Here’s a post from today:
It’s clear Facebook and its subsidiary could improve. It took this writer less than 20 seconds to pull up multiple weapons for sale on both platforms.