Facebook and Instagram to remove posts of illegal gun sales
Under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed to delete posts from users seeking to buy or sell weapons illegally or without a background check.
A similar policy will be applied to Instagram, the company’s photo-sharing network; the measures will be put into effect over the next few weeks at the world’s largest social network, with 1.3 billion active users.
We will remove reported posts that explicitly indicate a specific attempt to evade or help others evade the law
The move reflects growing alarm that the Internet is being used to sell banned weapons, evade restrictions on interstate sales, and put guns in the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill or others barred under federal law from obtaining firearms. Gun control advocates say Facebook has become a significant marketplace, with thousands of firearms-related posts.
Google Plus and Craigslist already prohibit all gun sales, legal or illegal.
The new policy was worked out in an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who has been pressing the company along with Mayors against Illegal Guns, a group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Moms Demand Action. Moms Demand Action collected more than 230,000 signatures on petitions calling on Facebook to act.
[blockquote cite=”New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman”]
Responsible social media sites know that it is in no one’s interest for their sites to become the 21st-century black market in dangerous and illegal goods that place our families and communities at risk.
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. The company already has systems in place to remove advertising that is false and deceptive, and it prohibits ads for illegal drugs, tobacco and prescription drugs.
In crafting the new policy, Facebook had to confront a patchwork of gun laws around the country. New York, for example, has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws. It prohibits the sale of weapons such the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, and it is one of 16 states that require background checks on buyers making private firearm purchases.
[info]Under the new policy, Facebook would allow a user to list an AR-15 as long as it wasn’t offered for sale in states where the weapon is illegal.[/info]