Facebook announces stricter policy on firearms sales

Posted: February 2, 2016 by gamegetterII in anti-gun asshattery, Uncategorized
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Hayley Tsukayama The Washington Post

It just became much harder to buy a gun through Facebook.

Although Facebook itself doesn’t sell guns, it has wrestled for years with the right way to handle sales of regulated goods such as firearms, adult toys and prescription drugs on its social-media network.

On Friday, the firm changed its policy regarding firearms, banning any such peer-to-peer sales on its network. That means users can no longer offer or coordinate the private sale of firearms on the site. This policy also applies to the sale of gun parts and ammunition, said a Facebook spokeswoman.

That’s far more strict than the company’s previous policy.

Two years ago, the company announced it would treat the sales of firearms in the same way it handles alcohol, tobacco and adult products. Under that policy, those selling firearms were sent a message reminding them to comply with all rules and regulations. It also restricted access to those posts to users older than 18 and displayed an educational message to anyone who searched for firearms sales on Facebook or Instagram, which the company owns. In general, advertisers also are not allowed to boost advertisements that feature regulated goods on Facebook.

The new policy brings the regulation of firearms sales in line with the company’s bans on the sale of marijuana and prescription drugs on its network. If Facebook detects any posts that violates the new directive, it will review the posts and remove them, if necessary.

When Facebook first addressed its firearms policy in March 2014, it was in part at the behest of groups such as Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns. According to the company, it decided to make this latest change in response to the way commerce has evolved on the network since then.

“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,” said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global product policy. “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.”

Still, the new policy does allow licensed firearms retailers to post about their goods and services on Facebook. However, they must complete any such transactions off the network.

Facebook did not have data on how many sales are completed this way.

The policy change encouraged some gun-control advocates, who see it as a way to crack down on transactions that potentially violate regulations on firearms sales.

“We spoke with Facebook regarding this important new policy decision, and I appreciate the company’s willingness to work with my office over the past two years on this issue,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “Today’s announcement is another positive step toward our shared goal of stopping illegal online gun sales once and for all.”

The National Rifle Association did immediately respond to a request for comment.

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