The social networking giant has announced that it would be taking a series of enforcement and educational measures concerning the discussion of regulated items, like guns, as it was pressurized through a campaign conducted by gun control advocates for dealing with the issue of commercial activity concerning firearms on Facebook. The changes are also applicable to Instagram, which is owned by Facebook and include new age limits that have been put up for pages and posts that promote sales of restricted items like alcohol, firearms and other adult products. New policy language has been introduced that emphasizes on following and knowing laws that are applicable to firearms and other regulated products and also instructing to keep them away from children.
Users of Facebook who are seeking out guns or selling them will be sent educational messages by the social network. The changes were described by the head of global policy management of Facebook Monika Bicket in a press release. She said that the company would not allow people to sell regulated items in a way that would promote an evasion of the law by the seller and the buyer too. A public service ad campaign has also been promised by the social network for encouraging the private firearm sellers to do background checks before selling the guns to the interested party.
The founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Shannon Watts, said in a statement that American moms were relieved that Instagram and Facebook have agreed to take the necessary steps that can prevent the illegal sales of firearms to their kids and even to dangerous people who can prove to be a threat later on. She said that they were happy that the social network had made these changes as it is a way to ensure that those buying and selling guns on these platforms are abiding by the law.
It has been reported by various media outlets that in the past few months that guns could be purchased via Facebook without any difficulties by children as well as unidentified customers. There were also incidents when advertisements concerning firearms had reached the underage audience. This had led to an increase in pressure on the social network and it had to bow down and make the necessary changes to its policy. Watts had managed to get 95,000 signatures on a petition and this had brought the issue under the light of the media.
Facebook stated that it had been working on the policy changes with different gun control groups. The company said that Facebook homes a community of 1.2 billion, which makes it important for the company to frequently have a policy update. This is to make sure that there is a balance between safety and free expression. The company said that they were happy to work with these groups for developing the new educational enforcement efforts. Even before this policy announcement, the company already had imposed a ban on paid advertisements concerning firearms and financial transactions cannot be completed through the social network as itâs not an e-commerce site.