Facebook Inc (FB) Criticized Over Continued Gun Sales

Despite Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) banning gun sales through the website in January, the company has faced criticism that it is not doing enough to stamp out the practice.

Ineffective ban

Private gun sales are supposed to be prohibited on both Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and (Facebook owned) Instagram. However, recent reports have shown that it is still relatively easy to find and purchase firearms over the social media behemoth.

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Democratic senator for Massachusetts, Edward Markey, wrote to Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) with his concerns about this, and more specifically what was being done to enforce the ban. Yesterday his office published the response they received from the company.

Facebook responds

Erin Egan, vice president of US Policy at Facebook wrote, “We share your concern about any activity on our platform that violates our Community Standards, including peer-to-peer sales of firearms or explosives, and we are committed to removing this activity from Facebook and Instagram.”

While saying they shared the concerns, they did not address the key question of what actions were being taken to rid the practice on the site.

Market also mentioned is his original letter that various photos and posts had been removed following an article in Wired. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) stated that this “consistent” with their policy on dealing with complaints.

Egan stated, “We temporarily hide photos associated with potentially violating hashtags while our Community Operations team reviews them.” He continued, “we remove reported photos if they violate any of our policies, including our prohibition on peer-to-peer firearm sales.”

Redouble efforts and more needs to be done

Markey, in the statement released by his office, said, “While I commend the platforms’ facilitating the reporting of prohibited content related to gun sales by users, I urge Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Instagram to redouble their efforts to develop and deploy technology that can enforce their gun-sales ban without relying so heavily on user reporting,”

He clearly believes the company could and should be doing more, and concluded, “Facebook and Instagram’s ban on private firearms sales should have the teeth it needs to be effective, so that it can truly prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who should not have them.”