(credit: Franco Bouly)
The social-networking site Facebook, and its Instagram photo-sharing service, are prohibiting person-to-person firearms transactions and related firearms advertising on the popular platforms.
The Friday move comes almost a month after President Barack Obama announced an executive initiative requiring those selling guns—whether at a flea market or online—to register as a firearms dealer and to perform background checks on gun purchasers. The White House has urged Silicon Valley to bake encryption backdoors into its wares, and has also urged social media companies to make it difficult for unlicensed gun dealers to sell firearms on their networks. Silicon Valley, however, has publicly balked at calls for encryption backdoors. Facebook’s changeover is part of its updated terms of service that also prohibit its 1.6 billion monthly visitors from selling marijuana, pharmaceuticals and illegal drugs.
The company will remove posts reported by its users that violate the policy, which had already prohibited firearms sellers from promoting “no background checks required.” Licensed dealers, which by law must perform background checks, may still advertise as long as transactions occur outside Facebook properties. Minors have already been shielded from seeing pages advertising guns. Repeat violators of Facebook’s policy, designed to clamp down on unregulated gun sales, could be banned from the social network.
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