Facebook to Ban Private Sales of Guns on Its Platform

January 29, 2016 Updated: January 29, 2016
FONT BFONT SText size

Facebook is changing its policy to forbid the private sale of guns on its platform, as well as on the photo-sharing platform Instagram, which it owns, the Washington Post reports.

The new ban will treat the sale of firearms in the same way it treats the sale of illegal drugs—any posts it detects advertising the sale of guns will be deleted.

“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,” said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global product policy. “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.”

The ban doesn’t not affect the official Facebook pages of firearm sellers, who can still advertise their brand on the website. However, the facilitation of the purchase of firearms will have to take place off the platform.

A quick search on Facebook brings up dozens of community pages that serve as gun exchanges, most of them grouped by state, as it’s illegal to move firearms across state lines without having a dealer’s license. Facebook doesn’t have data on how many guns are sold on its website.

This is not the first time Facebook has cracked down on firearms. In 2014, it moved to block minors from viewing pages that sold guns, and to ban posts that advertised the sale of guns “without a background check,” NPR reports.