Daily Management Review

Private Gun Advertising and Transactions Blocked on Facebook, Instagram


Private Gun Advertising and Transactions Blocked on Facebook, Instagram
Facebook is taking steps to stop private individuals from advertising guns. Individuals would also no longer be allowed to sell and advertise guns on Instagram, the photo-sharing service owned by Facebook.
While the new rules aim to stop all gun trade between individuals on the sites, the sale of guns without identity checks has already been banned on Facebook.
However Facebook and Instagram can stil be used by business firms to advertise and sell guns.
As the United States debates the issue of access to guns after a string of mass shootings, the move aims to counter concerns that the networks were increasingly being used to circumvent background checks on gun purchases.
In recent days, US President Barack Obama had unveiled new restrictions on gun purchases and the move comes three weeks after this new gun restriction rules.
The new restrictions announced by Obama would require that states provide information on people disqualified from buying guns due to mental illness or domestic violence and conduct thorough background checks for all gun sellers.
Either offering transactions across US state lines without a licensed dealer or private firearms sellers advertising "no background check required" have been prohibited by Facebook because the company said such posts indicated a willingness to evade the law.
Facebook, which has 1.59bn users worldwide, already has a similar policy about illegal drugs and pharmaceuticals sale on Facebook and the rule change brings gun sales under the same restrictions placed by Facebook on illegal drugs and pharmaceuticals.
"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," head of product policy Monika Bickert said in a statement.
"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," Bickert added.
Shannon Watts, of the Everytown for Gun Safety campaign group said that Facebook "was unfortunately and unwittingly serving as an online platform for dangerous people to get guns."
In at least two cases, the group said, it had found evidence that guns had been bought on the site and used to kill others.
Among other groups that had called on Facebook to change its policy on gun advertisement was Everytown for Gun Safety.
There has however been no response as of yet about Facebook’s new regulations from the National Rifle Association (NRA), which opposes changes to gun legislation. , has not yet responded to Facebook's decision. Previous moves by the network to limit gun advertising were insignificant, the NRA had said in 2014.
Facebook was alerted by New York's attorney general, Eric T Schneiderman in 2013 in a written letter where Schneiderman alerted the largest social networking site to "a number of groups in which users promoted the sale of assault rifles, handguns, rifles, shotguns and gun parts".
Dozens of groups on the site advertising private gun sales had remained live even several hours after Facebook's announcement on Friday. In order to avoid detection, some users writing on the groups' walls suggested starting new groups under inconspicuous names.
(Source:www.reuters.com & www.bbc.com)