Facebook gun control is now much stricter than before, as company officials have revealed that they would no longer allow individual sellers to commercialize or promote firearms on the social media platform.
The announcement was made on Friday, January 29, and all the measures that will be implemented on the networking website will also be enacted on Instagram, the media sharing service whose acquisition cost Facebook around $1 billion in April 2012.
The company based in Menlo Park, California, had long been urged to adopt a more austere stance against firearm purchases, especially after it was determined that the platform had served as an unwitting intermediary between unlicensed gun dealers and people who should’ve never been allowed to buy a weapon in the first place.
For instance, it was proven that thanks to the social networking website, underage individuals, convicted felons, wanted criminals, illegal immigrants, drug addicts, mentally ill patients and domestic violence offenders had all been able to easily acquire guns using Facebook’s marketplace.
Even more alarmingly, a gun-control group known as Everytown for Gun Safety also identified two instances when those who had purchased weapons via Facebook had eventually used them in order to fatally injure others.
For example, in December 2014, Ohio resident Brian Harleman managed to buy a gun on Facebook despite being a convicted felon, and used the weapon in order to murder his ex-girlfriend’s young daughter, before committing suicide.
In order to prevent such regrettable incidents, representatives of Everytown for Gun Safety had been lobbying for the last couple of years for more extensive Facebook gun control.
In response, company officials had declared that they would restrict access to minors when it came to viewing posts from gun dealers, but eventually did little in order to curb illegal firearm transactions on the networking site.
Now it appears that more stringent measures will finally be adopted, after Facebook executives analyzed the platform’s current guidelines regarding gun purchases and found them overly lax.
More precisely, from this point forward, individual gun sellers will no longer be permitted to post ads or to arrange firearm transactions using the social media website.
On the other hand, gun clubs will not be banned on the platform, being allowed to post status updates and other stories just as before, as long as they don’t promote any firearms to potential buyers.
In addition, other licensed gun and ammunition stores will be allowed to still advertise their merchandise on Facebook, but without having the opportunity to arrange or accept digital payments using the hugely popular website.
Basically, firearm transactions will now be strictly forbidden on the networking platform from now on, just like purchases involving illegal, prescription and recreational drugs have been from the very beginning.
The measure through which Facebook gun control will be more strongly enforced has obviously been praised by Shannon Watts, one of the key members of Everytown for Gun Safety.
According to her, it was high time that Facebook executives did something to address the large number of illegal gun purchases that have been facilitated by the networking platform.
The initiative has also been commended by Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who has said that gun transactions conducted in the absence of background checks are overly common nowadays, and Facebook’s firmer stance against such practices should be adopted by other websites as well.
Meanwhile, officials from the National Riffle Association and other gun rights advocacy groups have remained mum on Facebook’s latest decision.
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