Social media mainstay Facebook is working to boot from their respective sites posts from users looking to illegally sell firearms.
Facebook, which also owns Instagram, already bans advertising for drugs, tobacco, prescription drugs, adult products, and gambling, but according to PCMag.com, the sites are now working to further regulate user content to crack down on illegal gun sales.
In a blog post, Facebook Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert writes:
“We know that people sometimes post or share things that may be controversial or objectionable. We work hard to find a balance between enabling people to express themselves about topics that are important to them, and creating an environment that is safe and respectful.
“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.”
According to Bickert, Facebook will send a message to anyone who posts a message about selling a “regulated” item, asking them to comply with relevant local and federal laws.
Facebook said it received advice from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Sandy Hook Promise, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Moms Demand Action on how to best regulate gun sales on its sites.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a coalition of U.S. mayors founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
As part of its new regulations, Facebook will not ban users from posting about a LEGAL gun sale. However, people will be banned from posting “no background check required,” and sellers will not be allowed to offer to sell firearms across state lines without using a licensed firearms dealer.
Facebook will remove violating content and, where its employees feel appropriate, will notify law enforcement about such postings.