Facebook stops online private gun sales

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Facebook has put a stop to online gun sales with a new policy barring private individuals from advertising or selling firearms on its social network. This new policy also applies to Instagram.

As of 2014, Facebook and Instagram limited posts that discussed the sale of firearms to users over the age of 18, they (Facebook/Instagram) also urged buyers and sellers to comply with local laws “We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law” said Facebook.

Two years ago Shannon Watts of Everytown for Gun Safety and her group launched a public campaign to persuade the social network to modify its policies. Watts said her group found many cases of criminals and children who were capable purchasing guns on the site, including two cases in which the purchasers used the guns to kill others.

Facebook was unfortunately and unwittingly serving as an online platform for dangerous people to get guns.

Shannon Watts

Facebook on the other hand have been very cooperative, according to Watts; “They were very, very open to our thoughts on policy and to the research we have been compiling,” she said. “I think they definitely saw this was an issue, but an incredibly complicated issue. I think that’s why it’s taken two years.” She welcomed Facebook’s new policy, saying: “Moms are grateful for the leadership shown by Facebook today.

“Our continued relationship with Facebook resulted in today’s even stronger stance, which will prevent dangerous people from getting guns and save American lives.”

“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 head of 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.”

Online marketplaces like Craigslist and ad networks like Google’s AdWords also forbid advertisers from promoting dangerous weapons.

Licensed gun dealers will continue to be permitted on the social network, this policy does not apply to posts from them.

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