Facebook and Instagram vs. Illegal Gun Trade – Round 1

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Written By Gholam Rahmani

In response to a petition signed by over 200,000 people, Facebook has announced that it will be taking steps to prevent illegal sales of guns on their websites.

The petition was initiated by a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America which began as a small group on Facebook after the tragic shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Although the group started out small, it quickly gained backing and now has a large number of active members in its organization spanning across all American states.

As described on a blog post from Facebook, they along with their photo-sharing subsidiary, Instagram, will be taking a number of active steps to prevent illegal gun trade activities on their platforms.


  1. They will ban all users under 18 years of age from accessing all reported content related to gun sales.
  2. An option will become available to flag and report content that is suspected of facilitating illegal gun trade activity. These posts will then be reviewed and deleted if there is a reason to do so.
  3. All content that promotes the sales of guns across state borders will be deleted.
  4. Law enforcement will be notified of all suspicious gun-sale activity.
  5. Those who post content related to gun sales must acknowledge nationwide gun laws, or risk being permanently banned from using the company’s services.
  6. Unless a disclaimer is added on all gun-related groups that acknowledges gun laws the group will be shut down until they have done so.
  7. When an Instagram user attempts to search for guns or gun related images a warning will be presented listing gun laws before they may proceed to their search results.
  8. Facebook ads with a list of gun law information will target members of the social network who are affiliated with gun-related groups. The content for these public education ads will be provided by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense and Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
  9. All posts that indicate that the salesperson wishes to avoid background checks prior to the sale will be deleted.

According to Facebook blog, the staff is trying to find a solution that does not ban freedom of speech. The post said, “Because of the diversity of people and cultures on our services, we know that people sometimes post or share things that may be controversial or objectionable. We work hard to find a balance between enabling people to express themselves about topics that are important to them, and creating an environment that is safe and respectful.”