Facebook Cracks Down on Gun Sales

Minors to be blocked from viewing gun posts

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 6, 2014 2:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Facebook, under pressure from gun control groups, has agreed to start cracking down on gun ads and illegal gun sales. The company says it plans to block under-18s from viewing posts about guns and gun sales, and will start removing sales that do not require a background check, reports the Los Angeles Times. The changes, which also apply to Instagram, were applied after a petition campaign started after a series of incidents, including the arrest of a 15-year-old boy in Kentucky who told police he had bought a handgun on Facebook, USA Today reports.

Most of the new rules, however, will only be applied when complaints are made and gun control groups including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence complain that Facebook hasn't done enough. "I wouldn’t even call this a meaningful first step," the group's president tells the New York Times. "There’s a simple solution here. Facebook should be prohibiting any post that advertises the unlicensed sale or transfer of firearms in the US." Pro-gun groups, meanwhile, accuse the gun control lobby of trying to pressure Facebook to shut down free speech.

The Facebook page of the Utah Gun Exchange is seen Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. A Utah gun group will be giving a handgun with a mounted laser on Christmas day to “one lucky winner” to celebrate the success of an online firearms classified page the group launched following the Connecticut...
The Facebook page of the Utah Gun Exchange is seen Monday, Dec. 24, 2012. A Utah gun group will be giving a handgun with a mounted laser on Christmas day to “one lucky winner” to celebrate the success...   (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)
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Our goal here is to balance people’s interest in sharing things that they care about while making sure our community is a safe and responsible one. - Facebook spokesman Matt Steinfeld

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