Facebook, Instagram announce “new educational and enforcement measures for commercial activity,” i.e. firearms

posted at 4:01 pm on March 5, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

For going on months now, groups like Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Moms Demand Action, and their gun-control advocating ilk have been trying to push Facebook and Instagram into ‘cracking down’ on gun-related pages and posts and curbing the discussions therein — but I’m going to take a wild guess that the new self-policing standards Facebook ultimately unveiled today fell waaay short of the crackdown for which those anti-gun groups were really hoping. Here’s an excerpt from the Facebook announcement:

People sometimes use our free tools to discuss products that are regulated or controversial. In some cases they promote these products for sale or use, even though it’s not possible to complete a sale on Facebook or Instagram. While we’ve recently heard specific concerns from people about offers for the private sales of firearms, this is one of many areas where we face a difficult challenge balancing individuals’ desire to express themselves on our services, and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere.

Today, we are introducing a series of new educational and enforcement efforts for people discussing the private sale of regulated items:

-Any time we receive a report on Facebook about a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item, we will send a message to that person reminding him or her to comply with relevant laws and regulations. We will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18.

-We will require Pages that are primarily used by people to promote the private sale of commonly regulated goods or services to include language that clearly reminds people of the importance of understanding and complying with relevant laws and regulations, and limit access to people over the age of 18 or older if required by applicable law.

-We will provide special in-app education on Instagram for those who search for sales or promotions of firearms.

We will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law. 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. We have worked with a number of individuals and organizations on the development of these efforts, which will be implemented and enforced in the coming weeks. We are grateful in particular for the advice offered by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Sandy Hook Promise, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Moms Demand Action, which helped us develop an approach for the private sale of firearms. …

In a nutshell, Facebook will restrict users under 18 from viewing posts/pages about firearms sales; will send messages to/require language of posters selling regulated goods about the relevant laws; and won’t allow posts promoting regulated goods to offer to deliberately flout those laws.

Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts is, at least publicly, taking this as a win for her team (and anyhow, they’ve got other super-duper important battles going on, like trying to convince Staples to ban firearms from their stores):

“We are happy that these companies listened to American mothers and we believe these changes are a major step toward making sure people who buy or sell guns on their platforms know the law, and follow it,” she said. “Moms are particularly pleased that Facebook will block minors from seeing posts about gun sales or trades, and that we can be confident that these social networks will be safe spaces for our kids.”

“There’s still so much to be done – by corporations, by Congress, and by local leaders – to keep guns out of dangerous hands. Moms have momentum and we’re moving the country toward a culture of gun safety one company, one legislator, one law at a time. We’re going to keep applying pressure to corporations and political leaders until they do more to reduce the gun violence that plagues our country.  We’re not going away, and we will not stop until we’ve done everything we can to keep our children and communities safe.”

Let’s get real here: How much practical import will Facebook’s new reminders and restrictions actually have in accomplishing Moms Demand Action’s goals? Facebook is of course allowed to do whatever they like on that front, and I must say, none of the new rules sound at all unreasonable — but as the company said itself in their announcement, you can’t actually buy or sell things on Facebook or Instagram. They are simply a type of forum that helps like-minded people with similar interests and needs to connect with one another, as is the entire Internet. If some crazed villain is looking to obtain a gun illegally, I’d say I highly doubt that the inability to find one on Facebook is going to stop him.

The NRA certainly doesn’t seem too upset about the company’s new standards:

The NRA enjoys 150 times more support on Facebook than Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. That’s why Bloomberg and the gun control groups he funds tried to pressure Facebook into shutting down discussion of Second Amendment issues on its social media platforms. Bloomberg failed. NRA members and our supporters will continue to have a platform to exercise their First Amendment rights in support of their Second Amendment freedoms. – Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

Again, this big melodramatic push doesn’t seem like it was as much about practical import as it was about making American gun culture as gauche, subversive, and inconvenient as possible. As per usual, I think Charles Cooke at NRO hit the nail on the head here:

What Moms Demand Action and their authoritarian friends are really trying to do is drive gun culture underground: away from polite society; away from lightly regulated and difficult-to-control social media; away from the mainstream and the traditional. They would herd it into a faraway place where it can be more easily denigrated and where its adherents can be more efficiently marginalized. Which is to say that the pressure Watts and company are exerting on Facebook isn’t about “safety” or “common sense” or “helping the children” so much as it is about ostracism. Watts knows full well that Americans are less responsive to her propaganda than they are to the vital philosophy that lies behind the Second Amendment. She know that many Americans have taken note of the reams of literature documenting that crime rates have fallen at the same time gun laws have loosened. She knows that the Internet is not her friend. She knows that, on the question of gun control at least, the little platoons have beaten the centralizers for years now.


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I don’t do Facebook or Instagram. No skin off my back.

NotCoach on March 5, 2014 at 4:06 PM

But it’s ok to post about your illegal alien neighbor who is living off the taxpayer and is a good person even though they are breaking federal law
…. Hmmmmmm

cmarceron on March 5, 2014 at 4:09 PM

What Moms Demand Action and their authoritarian friends are really trying to do is drive gun culture underground: away from polite society; away from lightly regulated and difficult-to-control social media; away from the mainstream and the traditional. They would herd it into a faraway place where it can be more easily denigrated and where its adherents can be more efficiently marginalized. Which is to say that the pressure Watts and company are exerting on Facebook isn’t about “safety” or “common sense” or “helping the children” so much as it is about ostracism.

Exactly what the Libs are doing to cigarettes, the same exact thing. It worked for them so far.

Johnnyreb on March 5, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Those people on the anti-gun Facebook sites are idiot. They fully tell you that you will be banned if you disagree with them, and that no dissenting opinions are welcome, because they are right- so there!

melle1228 on March 5, 2014 at 4:11 PM

This post makes me want to plop down three benjis on a new 12 gauge.

Defenestratus on March 5, 2014 at 4:12 PM

…I do Facebook for work related stuff…otherwise I wouldn’t!

KOOLAID2 on March 5, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Exactly what the Libs are doing to cigarettes, the same exact thing. It worked for them so far.

Johnnyreb on March 5, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Not exactly. They can’t outlaw guns, and most states will continue to be shall issue. Cigarettes can be banned and taxed to death. Taxing guns to death would clearly be unconstitutional.

NotCoach on March 5, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Why would anyone trust facebook for advertising, or anything for that matter? Zuckerberg is in cahoots with this administration and their NSA domestic surviellance program.

olesparkie on March 5, 2014 at 4:15 PM

People sometimes use our free tools to discuss products that are regulated or controversial. In some cases they promote these products for sale or use, even though it’s not possible to complete a sale on Facebook or Instagram. While we’ve recently heard specific concerns from people about offers for the private sales of firearms, this is one of many areas where we face a difficult challenge balancing individuals’ desire to express themselves on our services, and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere.

What about all the online garage sale FB pages? Sure, the transaction doesn’t take place on FB, but items are listed there, and negotiations take place.

Ward Cleaver on March 5, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Next it’ll be hunter- and hunting-related stuff, like the lovely Eva Shockey.

Ward Cleaver on March 5, 2014 at 4:16 PM

You have the power to do aaaaaaallll of that … but you can’t keep Kay Hagan from sending me Emily’s List advertisements?

hawkdriver on March 5, 2014 at 4:18 PM

At least my VPN still works

DarkCurrent on March 5, 2014 at 4:19 PM

OBEY.

RovesChins on March 5, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Facebook
2h
Facebook introduces rules to restrict illegal gun sales – @nytimes
read more on nytimes.com

canopfor on March 5, 2014 at 4:20 PM

What about all the online garage sale FB pages? Sure, the transaction doesn’t take place on FB, but items are listed there, and negotiations take place.

Ward Cleaver on March 5, 2014 at 4:15 PM

WC, I think they’re only talking about a mechanism to pay through Facebook for goods bought or sold. PayPal or whatever.

hawkdriver on March 5, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Those people on the anti-gun Facebook sites are idiot. They fully tell you that you will be banned if you disagree with them, and that no dissenting opinions are welcome, because they are right- so there!

melle1228 on March 5, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Sometimes I like trolling pro-obama sites. Usually a question is asked and you pick the top hate comment and it snowballs from there. You cannot be banned from that unless a person deletes their specific comment.

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Are they going to make all the under-agers remove their boozed-up photos?

DrMagnolias on March 5, 2014 at 4:22 PM

So, institutions that exist because of the 1st Amendment are repealing the 2nd?

That doesn’t sound like a viable long term survival strategy.

ConstantineXI on March 5, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Yet another reason I refuse to have anything to do with faceboob.

rbj on March 5, 2014 at 4:23 PM

In a nutshell, Facebook will restrict users under 18 from viewing posts/pages about firearms sales; will send messages to/require language of posters selling regulated goods about the relevant laws; and won’t allow posts promoting regulated goods to offer to deliberately flout those laws.
==============

Thankfully,..I don’t do FaceBooky, and at least viewing FireArm Manufacture websites, so far, as I know,..don’t have a “Are You 18
and Over” button thingy,..before one can proceed!!

canopfor on March 5, 2014 at 4:24 PM

How about the slutty photos? Will those be banned? Can we ban their mom’s slutty photos too?

RovesChins on March 5, 2014 at 4:24 PM

This post makes me want to plop down three benjis on a new 12 gauge.

Defenestratus on March 5, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Always a good idea – regardless of HA threads….

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 4:26 PM

Isn’t this the slope that Ukraine slid down?

What is the Zucker looking to take over Kalifornia?

redguy on March 5, 2014 at 4:26 PM

What about pot sales?

Sven on March 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Got into FB for awhile about 5 years ago, quit about 2 years ago; never done Instagram.
So I really don’t care that much what they do.

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 4:27 PM

Are they going to make all the under-agers remove their boozed-up photos?

DrMagnolias on March 5, 2014 at 4:22 PM

My thought also.
Restrictions on photos of under-age kids with alcohol?

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 4:30 PM

I don’t do Facebook or Instagram. No skin off my back.

NotCoach on March 5, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Right there with you.

Ruckus_Tom on March 5, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Does Facebook know what A and T stand for in ATF???

mad saint jack on March 5, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Exactly what the Libs are doing to cigarettes, the same exact thing. It worked for them so far.

Johnnyreb on March 5, 2014 at 4:09 PM

Zero tolerance is where it’s at. It’s why they expel kids for finger guns. They have a lock on the schools and now they are trying for the social media. The goal is twofold, make people fare firearms and make them socially unacceptable. Zero tolerance has worked to ban cigarettes, make gays acceptable and gaining ground on the anti-religion front.

The big problem is that the other sides have no clue on how to use the same tactics nor the willingness to do so.

Lucy43 on March 5, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Those people on the anti-gun Facebook sites are idiot. They fully tell you that you will be banned if you disagree with them, and that no dissenting opinions are welcome, because they are right- so there!

melle1228 on March 5, 2014 at 4:11 PM

From the Preachers of Diversity, no diversity of thought.

Bitter Clinger on March 5, 2014 at 4:34 PM

Right there with you.

Ruckus_Tom on March 5, 2014 at 4:33 PM

So your only connection to Facebook is commenting on HotGas threads about Facebook?

Foxhound on March 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Are they going to make all the under-agers remove their boozed-up photos?

DrMagnolias on March 5, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Of course not. Those will show up prominently when the little twits apply for jobs or college the rest of their lives. And those photos will be out there on the big’ole World Wide Web for the next 1,000 years.

Ruckus_Tom on March 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Doing business with a Facebook “Like” page?
Must watch video: Fake likes and the “Facebook Fraud” http://ow.ly/u65RV

albill on March 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Of course not. Those will show up prominently when the little twits apply for jobs or college the rest of their lives. And those photos will be out there on the big’ole World Wide Web for the next 1,000 years.

Ruckus_Tom on March 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Almost makes ya look forward to the NorKs or Chinese popping off a high altitude nuke EMP burst to fry all the electronics.

I’ve been out of FB for almost 3 years, deleted EVERYTHING (or tried anyway), and my wife says my last portrait photo and my name still show up as a potential “friend”.

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 4:43 PM

You have the power to do aaaaaaallll of that … but you can’t keep Kay Hagan from sending me Emily’s List advertisements?

hawkdriver on March 5, 2014 at 4:18 PM

But Kay cares. She really, really cares. That is why she sends those ads. She cares.

Really.

/must throw up now …

M240H on March 5, 2014 at 4:46 PM

Have or thinking of getting a Facebook “Like” page?
Check out this YouTube video: -Facebook Fraud- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVfHeWTKjag&feature=youtu.be

albill on March 5, 2014 at 4:47 PM

Like Facebook said, their site is a tool. People use it their own way…or don’t use it. It’s up to you.
There are activist groups in all areas that are doing similar things. It’s all about fund raising. It’s time to start exposing them for the frauds they are and ridicule the people that throw their money away by supporting them.

mike_NC9 on March 5, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Doing business with a Facebook “Like” page?
Must watch video: Fake likes and the “Facebook Fraud” http://ow.ly/u65RV

albill on March 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

THAT would explain all the obama likes!

Thanks for that.

Lanceman on March 5, 2014 at 4:51 PM

I dumped Facebook and Twitter both and I don’t miss them one little bit.

NavyMustang on March 5, 2014 at 4:52 PM

But it’s ok to post about your illegal alien neighbor who is living off the taxpayer and is a good person even though they are breaking federal law
…. Hmmmmmm

cmarceron on March 5, 2014 at 4:09 PM

As long as they don’t try to sell that illegal alien neighbor… /

Hill60 on March 5, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Anyone want to join my “Big Gulps for Freedom” Facebook page?

NativeTexan on March 5, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Gunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsgunsguns…Bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha. *burp*

vnvet on March 5, 2014 at 5:06 PM

Screw facebook

TX-96 on March 5, 2014 at 5:08 PM

As long as they don’t try to sell that illegal alien neighbor… /

Hill60 on March 5, 2014 at 4:55 PM

But you CAN sell that illegal alien drug smuggler some guns – just don’t sell them to a law-abiding US citizen.

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 5:11 PM

I have so far, miraculously, avoided the siren call of FacePlant.

BigWyo on March 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM

I’d like to point out that the homepage image illustrating this post — yeah, that one of the outstretched hand gesturing a “thumbs up” — well, it looks exactly like a very dangerous Level 2 snub-nose handgun.

Any child viewing that image on an elementary school campus at the exact instant the principal or other authority figure walks up will be instantly suspended or worse under most states’ zero-tolerance policies concerning bringing guns on campus.

I urge Hot Air to change that image to a rainbow or maybe to people of diverse ethnicities standing in a large circle and holding hands. Do it before more innocent children’s lives are destroyed.

FlameWarrior on March 5, 2014 at 5:22 PM

I have so far, miraculously, avoided the siren call of FacePlant.

BigWyo on March 5, 2014 at 5:16 PM

mouth open, vacant stare, finger point, aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 5:23 PM

No word on how this will affect thousands of competitive youth shooting sports programs which have been using Facebook to communicate with each other… oh, and how about USA Shooting – which promotes the US Olympic Shooting Sports Teams.

2nd Ammendment Mother on March 5, 2014 at 5:29 PM

So your only connection to Facebook is commenting on HotGas threads about Facebook?

Foxhound on March 5, 2014 at 4:38 PM

I don’t have a facebook account. Do you?

Ruckus_Tom on March 5, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Doing business with a Facebook “Like” page?
Must watch video: Fake likes and the “Facebook Fraud” http://ow.ly/u65RV

albill on March 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Great post… I got a spam comment on my blog just yesterday offering hundreds of Facebook likes for a small fee… not that I really care who likes my blog…

I’ll pass, thank you.

PointnClick on March 5, 2014 at 5:53 PM

PointnClick on March 5, 2014 at 5:53 PM

I’ll have my wife like your FB page for $1 a click…….
Deal?

dentarthurdent on March 5, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Just bought another 300 rounds of 45 ACP on Gun******.com (God Bless the Internet)

Because **** you, Instagram and gun nannies. That’s why.

orangemtl on March 5, 2014 at 7:27 PM

Doing business with a Facebook “Like” page?
Must watch video: Fake likes and the “Facebook Fraud” http://ow.ly/u65RV

albill on March 5, 2014 at 4:41 PM

The whole thing is a house of cards. Their revenue is based off ads, but at some point someone has to actually…buy something. How much longer can they sustain the facade?

Murphy9 on March 5, 2014 at 7:57 PM

I’m on hiatus from Fakebook for Lent. Maybe I’ll end up getting rid of it this summer.

annoyinglittletwerp on March 5, 2014 at 8:27 PM

Given those rules, I’m guessing my Colorado neighbors’ posts are going to be age-restricted, limited, or banned as they’re occasionally discussing a substance that is restricted, at least at the Federal level.

Lets see if Facebook applies this rule evenly, or if they’re just pretending this is the rule when it’s really something else.

gekkobear on March 5, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Will they bring the same passion to the table when the issue is marijuana?

ss396 on March 6, 2014 at 1:09 AM

Facebook saves the CIA and NSA a lot of money.

Akzed on March 6, 2014 at 9:16 AM

This was pretty much of a joke response by Facebook. MDA/MAIG trying to claim some sort of victory out of this really pushes the limits of how far one can twist a story. But that is the nature of delusional disorders.

What it comes down to is that Facebook let them blow of steam, patted them on the head and told the rest of us to keep our legal rears covered.

RaulYbarra on March 6, 2014 at 1:34 PM