On January 29 Facebook announced a broadening of its anti-gun policies to include prohibiting private citizens from advertising gun sales.
This advertising ban applies to Instagram as well.
This is a major departure from Facebook’s March 5, 2014 response to Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action, and others, when the social media giant would only commit to barring advertisements that appeared to be skirting the law. Now Facebook says no private sellers may advertise, period.
According to the Associated Press, Facebook made the announcement “after gun control groups… complained that Facebook and other online sites are frequently used by unlicensed sellers and buyers not legally eligible to buy firearms.”
Monika Bickert–of Facebook product policies–released a statement, saying
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. 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.
Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence president Dan Gross praised Facebook’s decision, saying, “It is simply too easy for virtually anyone to buy any gun they want online without a Brady background check. Facebook just took an important step in addressing that challenge and we call on others to follow suit.”
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