Facebook announced this week that they will institute a new firearms policy for on both Facebook and Instagram that will make it much harder for people to acquire firearms. An advocacy group, Moms Demand Action, had gathered over 230,000 signatures on a petition asking the site to take a stronger stance on preventing the illegal sale of firearms on its pages. Facebook will now remove content that is reported to them, limit access to firearms sales posts to users over 18, require sellers to include legal language about firearms sales, and even provide an education tool in Instagram for people who are searching for guns.
“We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law,” said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management. “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.”
Facebook typically takes a hands-off approach to policing its own pages in this way, but the overwhelming pressure it faced from outside groups forced its hand into taking a stand against gun sales. It’s a delicate balance for the site, which doesn’t want to alienate any of their users; after all, there are many wildly popular gun pages on Facebook. However, this is still a positive step for both Facebook’s safety and its public image.