We just reported on the recent push by Moms Demand Action and Mayor Against Illegal Guns to force Facebook to take down pages that promote guns and allow for users to discuss firearm transactions.
But this push would have also effected all gun related pages on Facebook, many of which merely support the 2nd amendment and discuss gun related stories.
Well after so much outrage over this potential decision, Facebook has put out a press release that suggests they have no plans on banning gun related pages at all. In fact, their announcement looks more like a soft approach to appease the gun control groups rather than actually take any actions against pro-gun users.
The social network has realized that many of the biggest fanpages and most engaged users are pro-gun, and barking up that tree is a losing battle.
Buying and selling guns through private parties is perfectly legal in most states, and with no legal grounds for interfering in these transactions Facebook has opted to merely educate its users and ask them to report any illegal activities.
Facebook does not sell anything. It is not an ecommerce site and does not handle any transactions.
The announcement, however, did state that the company will remove offers to sell guns without background checks or across state lines illegally. And posts about guns sales will not be visible to those under the age of 18.
The press release from Facebook seems to make it pretty clear that for now these pro-gun pages will be safe from the tirades of gun control groups which want nothing better but to restrict the constitutional rights of others.
People sometimes use our free tools to discuss products that are regulated or controversial. In some cases they promote these products for sale or use, even though it’s not possible to complete a sale on Facebook or Instagram. While we’ve recently heard specific concerns from people about offers for the private sales of firearms, this is one of many areas where we face a difficult challenge balancing individuals’ desire to express themselves on our services, and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere.
Today, we are introducing a series of new educational and enforcement efforts for people discussing the private sale of regulated items:
– Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18.
– We will require Pages that are primarily used by people to promote the private sale of commonly regulated goods or services to include language that clearly reminds people of the importance of understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, and limit access to people over the age of 18 or older if required by applicable law.
– We will provide special in-app education on Instagram for those who search for sales or promotions of firearms.
We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others 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. We have worked with a number of individuals and organizations on the development of these efforts, which will be implemented and enforced in the coming weeks. We are grateful in particular for the advice offered by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Sandy Hook Promise, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Moms Demand Action, which helped us develop an approach for the private sale of firearms. We also appreciate the feedback provided by the Facebook Safety Advisory Board.
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