Gun prohibitionist groups badgering Facebook and Instagram to censor firearms-related pages have been politely invited to mind their own business and leave the social networks alone.
In a post titled “Facebook, Instagram Announce New Educational and Enforcement Measures for Commercial Activity,” the social networking giant announced that they would enforce existing policies and remind users to follow existing laws on both Facebook and Instagram.
The company will introduce “new educational and enforcement efforts” that comport with their existing policies.
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.
While Facebook may be left-leaning, they recognize that they have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors, and a moral imperative to respect the First Amendment and Second Amendment rights of all Americans.
They refuse to censor free speech as Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts demanded.
All of the fan pages that are currently used to buy/sell/trade firearms will remain on both Facebook and Instagram. Anyone violating the terms of service or the law with be dealt with on a case by case basis, as they were before.
Update: The National Rifle Association (NRA) agrees with my assessment that Bloomberg failed:
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 on which to exercise rights in support of their Second Amendment freedoms.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) concurs that Facebook’s policies were merely reclarifying their existing policies, but wishes that the social media company would have directly included them in discussions.
Facebook today acted to provide clarification to its policies on postings concerning firearms and agreed to provide educational messaging on its platform. We are in agreement that all applicable laws should be observed in the private transfer of firearms. We would have welcomed the opportunity to provide our industry’s perspective, however, and regret that we were not consulted. Facebook’s clarification will not affect the lawful commerce in firearm and ammunition products for NSSF members and their customers.
The gun-grabbers at Brady also concede defeat:
“This new policy is not a victory because Facebook continues to make it too easy for dangerous people to evade a background check when buying guns. A mere warning to follow the law and community-based reporting will not do enough to prevent unchecked gun sales to dangerous people,” says Daniel Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “As we and thousands of others have told Facebook, unlicensed gun sales have no place on the social network. Facebook should prohibit all posts that advertise the unlicensed sale or transfer of firearms in the United States. Sadly, it’s only a matter of time before a gun purchased through Facebook without a background check is used in a terrible tragedy. ”
The text of the full Facebook press release is on the next page.