Updating an existing policy that prohibited the sale of illegal drugs and pharmaceuticals on the social network, Facebook has moved to include guns to that list. Basically, this means that Facebook and Instagram users are no longer allowed to negotiate private sales of guns using any form of messaging through the two social networks.
This likely means that community pages that facilitate private sales of firearms, like Guns & Archery Buy, sale & Trade, will be shut down unless guns are eliminated from the page. However, gun clubs and licensed gun dealers are still welcome to maintain Facebook pages and Instagram feeds in order to continue actively promoting their organizations.
Speaking about the new shift, Facebook’s Monika Bickert, head of product policy, said “Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another. We are continuing to develop, test and launch new products to make this experience even better for people and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution.”
Facebook representatives are concerned that gun owners are using the two social networks to circumvent background checks when selling a weapon to another party. Prior to this new policy, Facebook had already prohibited private sellers from promoting their wares with the tagline “no background check required.” In addition, Facebook prohibited any sales of guns that crossed state lines and made sure minors weren’t able to access pages that advertised guns for sale.
Happy about the changes, John Feinblatt, the president of advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, said “We’re gratified that our continuous conversation with Facebook over the course of the last two years has culminated in the company prohibiting all unlicensed gun sales arranged on its platforms. Our undercover investigations have shown that criminals are active in the online market for guns, where unlicensed sellers can offer guns with no federal background check required.”
The National Rifle Association has yet to release a statement about Facebook’s shift in policy.
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