BREAKING: Facebook Will Not Ban Gun Related Pages, Announces New Education and Enforcement for Commercial Sales
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As I’m sure you’ve heard, over the last week or so, Facebook and Instagram have been in talks with Moms Demand Action. MDA is concerned that people are using the services to buy and sell guns without background checks (an activity that is completely legal in most states as long as buyer and seller are both legal to own firearms).
Of course, anyone with a computer and access to the Internet can find pretty much anything and everything for sale. MDA pretty much wanted Facebook and Instagram to completely ban nearly all gun related pages because they could possibly be used to promote gun sales.
However, it looks like Facebook won’t be doing anything remotely near that. As expected, since Facebook doesn’t actually sell anything and most pages/communities are user created and user managed, it will take a soft shoe approach to appease the Moms.
According to a press release by the social media network,
People sometimes use our free tools to discuss products that are regulated or controversial. In some cases they promote these products for sale or use, even though it’s not possible to complete a sale on Facebook or Instagram. While we’ve recently heard specific concerns from people about offers for the private sales of firearms, this is one of many areas where we face a difficult challenge balancing individuals’ desire to express themselves on our services, and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere.
Today, we are introducing a series of new educational and enforcement efforts for people discussing the private sale of regulated items:
– Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18.
– We will require Pages that are primarily used by people to promote the private sale of commonly regulated goods or services to include language that clearly reminds people of the importance of understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, and limit access to people over the age of 18 or older if required by applicable law.
– We will provide special in-app education on Instagram for those who search for sales or promotions of firearms.
We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law. For example, private sellers of firearms in the U.S. will not be permitted to specify “no background check required,” nor can they offer to transact across state lines without a licensed firearms dealer. We have worked with a number of individuals and organizations on the development of these efforts, which will be implemented and enforced in the coming weeks. We are grateful in particular for the advice offered by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Sandy Hook Promise, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Moms Demand Action, which helped us develop an approach for the private sale of firearms. We also appreciate the feedback provided by the Facebook Safety Advisory Board.