Hoplophobic Facebook Moves to Ban Private Gun Sales on Its Site and Instagram
(too old to reply)
But ISIS can still make threats on Facebook
2021-11-29 22:34:34 UTC
But won't ban blacks flashing guns and threatening whites.

Facebook is banning private sales of guns on its flagship social
network and its Instagram photo-sharing service, a move meant to
clamp down on unlicensed gun transactions.

Facebook already prohibits people from offering marijuana,
pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs for sale, and the company said
on Friday that it was updating its policy to include guns. The
ban applies to private, person-to-person sales of guns. Licensed
gun dealers and gun clubs can still maintain Facebook pages and
post on Instagram.

Although Facebook was not directly involved in gun sales, it has
served as a forum for gun sales to be negotiated, without people
having to undergo background checks. The social network, with
1.6 billion monthly visitors, had become one of the world’s
largest marketplaces for guns and was increasingly evolving into
an e-commerce site where it could facilitate transactions of

The ban thrusts Facebook into the center of another major
societal debate. Discussions over gun control have flared anew
after the mass shootings last year in San Bernardino, Calif.,
and a community college in Oregon, among others. In January,
President Obama gave a speech promising to tighten enforcement
of laws governing unlicensed gun sales. In response, some
individual sellers said they would turn to sites like Facebook,
which allowed them to freely advertise guns for sale.

Facebook said it would rely on its vast network of users to
report any violations of the new rules, and would remove any
post that violated the policy. Beyond that, the company said it
could ban users or severely limit the ways they post on
Facebook, depending on the type and severity of past violations.
If the company believed someone’s life was in danger, Facebook
would work with law enforcement on the situation.

Facebook will also rely on user reports of private gun sales
that occur between members via Facebook Messenger, the company’s
private messaging service. Facebook does not scan the content of
those messages.

“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,” Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy,
said in a statement. “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.”

New York’s attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, who has
pressed for restrictions on illegal gun sales on Facebook and
other sites, praised the company’s move.

“Today’s announcement is another positive step toward our shared
goal of stopping illegal online gun sales once and for all,” he
said in a statement on Friday.

Facebook plays host to scores of online groups that cater to gun
enthusiasts, with members posting pictures and details about an
individual gun, or a gun they might be looking to buy. Many of
the groups are private, meaning that Facebook users may need to
be approved by an administrator before they can see or write

Unlike professional gun sellers, hobbyists who sell or trade a
few guns a year are not typically required to be licensed by the
federal government. Some, like Scott Schmoke of Florida, say
that Facebook helps them sell just a handful of weapons a year.
Mr. Schmoke said in an interview this month that he always
insisted on meeting potential buyers face-to-face, to feel them

“I go to a secure location, and I say, ‘Can I see your driver’s
license? Do you have a concealed-weapons permit?’ ” Mr. Schmoke
said. If he gets a bad feeling, he does not sell, he said.

But as an unlicensed seller, Mr. Schmoke is under no obligation
to perform any kind of background check. Federal authorities
have expressed worries that the Internet has fueled the sale of
guns to felons and others who might normally be blocked from
buying firearms.

Facebook has taken some steps to regulate gun sales over the
years. In 2014, it said it would limit gun sales on its site and
on Instagram, including by shielding minors from Facebook pages
that advertised guns for sale.

But since then, Facebook has been inching toward facilitating e-
commerce transactions. In December, the company introduced a
project that directs users to local businesses and services that
are well-reviewed on Facebook. Facebook can also store users’
credit card information. And in recent months, Facebook made it
possible to send peer-to-peer payments through Messenger.

Facebook’s progression toward on-site payments underscored the
need to update the company’s content policy, a Facebook
spokeswoman said.

The company has also been pushed by gun safety groups including
Everytown for Gun Safety, an umbrella group that united the
efforts of two separate organizations of mayors and mothers to
promote gun safety. Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand
Action for Gun Sense in America, one of those two advocacy
groups, said she met with senior Facebook officials repeatedly
over the last two years.

Everytown for Gun Safety presented Facebook with research
connecting unlicensed gun sales on the site to gun violence. For
example, Ms. Watts said, in December 2014, an Ohio man, Brian
Harleman, shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend and killed her 10-
year-old daughter before killing himself. Although prohibited
from buying firearms because of a felony conviction, he was able
to buy the weapon in an unlicensed sale on Facebook.

“We were saying, ‘Please stop the unfettered access to guns on
Facebook,’ ” Ms. Watts, a mother of five in Colorado, said in an

Because of Facebook’s tremendous influence, she said, its
decision to ban person-to-person sales of guns will have ripple
effects on gun policy nationwide.

“What they’re doing is sending such an incredibly strong,
sentinel signal to the world that America is working in the
right direction on guns,” she said. “For them to take a stand
and do the right thing gives cover to other businesses to do the
right thing.”

Just Wondering
2021-11-29 23:26:22 UTC
Facebook is banning private sales of guns ...
January 2016? Can't you do better than that?