Facebook makes concessions on guns in social media

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Following a campaign run by the Bloomberg-backed and Mayors Against Illegal Guns partnered Moms Demand Action, Facebook and Instagram announced Wednesday that they are rolling out some changes to the way they handle guns and gun groups on the social media sites.

The Moms

With a high-powered communication executive by the name of Shannon Watts nee Troughton, as their official talking head (she was formerly Director of Global and Public Affairs at Monsanto Corporation, Director of Global Communications for GE Healthcare, and then Vice President of Corporate Communications at WellPoint, the nation's largest health insurance corporation ), the activist group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, commonly referred to as Moms Demand Action is striving to introduce gun control in its strictest form. They are the ones behind the boycott at Starbucks last year over gun policies and offer comment on every piece of gun control legislation that it out there.

Their latest target was Facebook.

(An example of the Moms's gun control propaganda)

Attacking the social media kings

Claiming that Facebook and instagram allowed unregulated gun sales through its pages, the Moms launched a campaign to demand the companies halt this practice. They generated a petition that achieved over 95,000 signatures while taking to, ironically, social media to gain steam for their protest.

Facebook shrugged off the Moms for weeks, citing that the site was non-commercial and they didn't sell anything and further stating that if someone observed illegal activity then the company would immediately turn it over to the authorities.
With the Moms unrelenting, the company took it a step further this week.

(The Moms group is taking issue with the thousands of collector's groups that buy, sell and trade guns and ammo amongst themselves in accordance with local laws. This is no different from groups on facebook that swap purses, tractor parts, and collectable figurines.)

Facebooks reply

Wednesday the company announced a series of steps aimed at blocking illegal gun sales.

  • Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18.
  • We will require Pages that are primarily used by people to promote the private sale of commonly regulated goods or services to include language that clearly reminds people of the importance of understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, and limit access to people over the age of 18 or older if required by applicable law.
  • We will provide special in-app education on Instagram for those who search for sales or promotions of firearms.
  • We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law. For example, private sellers of firearms in the U.S. will not be permitted to specify "no background check required," nor can they offer to transact across state lines without a licensed firearms dealer.

The Moms, the Brady Campaign, and MAIG all came out and congratulated themselves for this minor clarification then promptly announced that:

"Under pressure from the Brady Campaign and our partners, Facebook released an updated gun policy today. Some will call this a victory; we strongly disagree.

Facebook's new policy continues to allow unlicensed sellers to advertise guns for sale a policy we have told Facebook makes it far too easy for dangerous people to buy guns without a Brady background check."

Of course gun owners have stood up for themselves in this whole thing.

A Roseville, California based group called Firearms Policy Coalition has posted a Change.org petition and open letter to Mark Zuckerberg calling Moms Demand Action a "hate group" that is hell-bent on removing pro-gun content from Facebook.

The FPG's Executive Director Brandon Combs, sent us the following:

"They want our guns (and speech) banned, period. We know they're going to keep working at their anti-gun agenda until we can't exercise our fundamental rights at Starbucks, Staples, on social media sites, and everywhere. Mike Bloomberg's big money contributions will guarantee that their spin machine will keep cranking out high-profile misinformation campaigns like the one they're using to bully Facebook.

But there is some good news in all this: Our counter-petition came on fast and strong, and USA Today referred to it twice in their story. "Facebook gun traders responded with their own petition saying, "It's not OK to target only firearm enthusiasts for excessively restrictive rules." It has more than 8,900 signatures....

One, titled "Facebook: stay fair -- don't cave in to the anti-gun demands!" was posted by Stanton McCandlish, 45, of Oakland, Calif."

In less than a day, we're on our way to having more than 10,000 signatures. The anti-gun Moms declared victory with 95,599 supporters in a little less than a month."
In all, it doesn't seem like this is a war, but just another battle in the effort to control yet another branch of the media by the gun control lobby. "

With that we leave you, our members to weigh in on this below.

And by the way, check out our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/firearmstalk

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March 6, 2014  •  11:54 AM
i've sold several guns and ammo on facebook sites, i always ask for id if i don't know them to make sure they are of age and from my state.
March 13, 2014  •  10:24 AM
I personally think that as long as Face Book does nothing other that restate the people must comply with all appropriate State and Federal laws that all is well. If they beyond that they are stepping over the line as far as I'm concerned.