Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Connectivity

Facebook Bans Peer-to-Peer Gun Sales

The social media platform had become one of the largest gun markets in the world, but will now disallow unlicensed gun sales.

Facebook is tightening its gun policy. With over 1.5 billion monthly users, the social media giant known for serving users endless streams of food, pet and baby pictures had also grown into one of the world’s largest gun markets. A large number of those were sold through unlicensed dealers – individuals selling one or a few weapons to buyers.

On Friday the company announced it is no longer allowing private sales of guns on either Facebook or Instagram, which it also owns. Only licensed gun dealers will be allowed to advertise weapons for sale, with the transactions being arranged offline.

The move comes as unlicensed gun selling – which is legal but does not require a background check - has come under increased scrutiny in the U.S. Gun control advocacy groups have been lobbying Facebook for a move like this for some time, arguing that unlicensed gun sales make it easy for people who would otherwise fail background checks, like convicted felons, from getting their hands on weapons. One such group, Everytown for Gun Safety, says guns purchased in this way have been involved in at least two murders.

The issue extends beyond American borders, though – last month, a report surfaced that a significant amount of black market arms dealing in Iraq was conducted through Facebook. It was not immediately clear whether Facebook would seek to stamp out this type of activity as well.

Reports from over the weekend suggest that many private advertisements had not yet been taken down. That may be because Facebook indicated it would rely on users to report such ads as its primary enforcement tactic. If that's the case, it might be a while before things change.

(Sources: Slate, Mic, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR)

Want to go ad free? No ad blockers needed.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.

Uh oh–you've read all of your free articles for this month.

Insider Premium
$179.95/yr US PRICE

More from Connectivity

What it means to be constantly connected with each other and vast sources of information.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

    Bimonthly digital/PDF edition

    Access to the magazine PDF archive—thousands of articles going back to 1899 at your fingertips

    Special interest publications

    Discount to MIT Technology Review events

    Special discounts to select partner offerings

    Ad-free web experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

    Bimonthly print magazine (6 issues per year)

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    What's Included

    Unlimited 24/7 access to MIT Technology Review’s website

    The Download: our daily newsletter of what's important in technology and innovation

/
You've read all of your free articles this month. This is your last free article this month. You've read of free articles this month. or  for unlimited online access.