Facebook, Instagram Join Gun Sale Prevention Fight

Facebook and Instagram Reveal New Rules to Combat Gun Sales

(Image: File)
Facebook and Instagram will continue to remove content, and notify law enforcement when users may be at risk because of illegal selling online.

Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management at Facebook, announced new rules concerning educating users about illegal goods and services like firearms. The company blog post also announced enforcement measures for commercial activity that go so far as to notify law enforcement.

“Because of the diversity of people and cultures on our services, we know that people sometimes post or share things that may be controversial or objectionable,” the company’s blog post read. “We work hard to find a balance between enabling people to express themselves about topics that are important to them, and creating an environment that is safe and respectful.”

The new rules focus mainly on illegal gun sales on the social network, and is an attempt to crack down on promotions for the firearms on popular Facebook Pages. The education and enforcement laws also apply to the popular image sharing social network Instagram, which was purchased by Facebook for $1 billion.

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The post also notes that while users have the ability to promote commercial transactions on the site, they cannot actually sell anything through Facebook.

“Just like posting on a bulletin board at a supermarket or community center, these activities may be considered commercial, but we treat this type of sharing like any other type of sharing on our services – and we respond to reports when something violates our Community Standards.”

The new rules will restrict Facebook Pages and the language they use when promoting sales of regulated goods or services, forcing the pages to comply with all relevant laws and limit access to users over the age of 18.

The rules also forbid posts that help other users 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.”

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Facebook’s new rules comes after talks with various gun law advocacy groups, including Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action, and Sandy Hook Promise. The various organizations “helped us develop an approach for the private sale of firearms. We also appreciate the feedback provided by the Facebook Safety Advisory Board.”