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Facebook updates policies in attempt to curb private gun sales online

updated 05:56 am EST, Thu March 6, 2014

Social network introduces new rules for posts concerning regulated goods

Facebook is attempting to curb online sales of guns by updating its policy on user posts and pages on its social network. A number of "educational and enforcement efforts" were introduced by the company on Wednesday to both Facebook and Instagram, which will cover not only firearms but also discussions relating to other regulated item sales or services.

The company will now send a message to users about complying with laws and regulations associated with an item, if a post is reported to Facebook by others. The post itself will then be restricted, with only users aged 18 or over able to view it. Pages primarily used to promote private sales of regulated goods or services are required to "include language that clearly reminds people of the importance of understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations," and limiting access to users above the age of 17 if required by law.

Instagram users will receive "special in-app education" if they search for sales of firearms. Finally, Facebook will not allow posts for the sale of regulated items that "indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law," with the company giving the example of a private sale of a firearm in the US including the term "no background check required."

Facebook page for gun sales
Facebook page for gun sales


The social network faced pressure from a number of groups to implement controls over private gun sales. Head of Global Policy Management Monicka Bickert acknowledges the advice from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Sandy Hook Promise, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Moms Demand Action.

The changes are already being complained about, with the National Rifle Association passing comment on the new rules. The Verge reports that Chris Cox, executive director for the NRA's Institue for Legislative Action, claimed the groups "tried to pressure Facebook into shutting down discussion of Second Amendment issues on its social media platforms."



By Electronista Staff
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