As we first reported yesterday, Instagram and parent company Facebook are New Facebook/Instagram Policy Bans Branded Content From 2A Influencers banning branded content from Second Amendment influencers on the platforms, which could have a big impact on the online marketing strategies for firearms companies as well as the financial bottom line for some influencers.
Of course gun control activists are happy to see the ban put in place, but they’re also pushing the tech juggernaut to do even more.
Shannon Watts, the founder of the advocacy group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said she hopes the ban is “a sign of more meaningful policies to come.”
“I’m grateful to Facebook and Instagram for taking this common-sense step to encourage safety on its platforms, and I am hopeful that this step in the right direction is a sign of more meaningful policies to come,” Watts said in a statement.
“Facebook has a responsibility to prevent its platforms from being used to mislead the public about public safety issues like gun safety, and while the company has made some good progress, its record is mixed at best,” she added.
Juliana Carrasco, a national advisory board member for Students Demand Action, added that the social media giants “owe users more than this.”
“My generation doesn’t just use Instagram to post selfies or share memes — Instagram and other social media platforms have become an essential organizing tool for young activists,” Carrasco said.
“It’s good that Facebook and Instagram have taken this step, but the companies owe its users more than this,” she added. “Social media platforms have a responsibility to make sure that they aren’t used to spread hate and lies, especially when it comes to gun violence, which claims 100 American lives each day. Facebook is currently not fulfilling that responsibility.”
So gun control advocates don’t just want to see Facebook and Instagram crack down on influencers posing with guns, or even taking them out for a test drive at a local range. Watts wants Facebook to go after posts that she feels “mislead the public” on gun control issues; i.e. any post that expresses a pro-Second Amendment point of view or opposes the gun control laws she supports. If gun control advocates get their way, you won’t see stories like this from Bearing Arms in your news feed, not because we mislead anyone, but because we inform them.
Like it or not, Facebook is the new public square, but it’s a public square run by a private company. When the company makes moves that are clearly designed to inhibit support for a constitutionally protected right, it does make me think that perhaps there’s a role for the government to play. Then I remember that government intervention is likely to just make things worse for Second Amendment supporters, and I feel like throwing my hands up in disgust.
What’s the answer? I wish I knew, and I’d love to hear your suggestions. In fact, Friday’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co. is going to be devoted to your emails, so if you’ve got an idea about what to do with Facebook’s stifling of the promotion of gun ownership, drop me a line at [email protected] and I’ll be sure to include your response on Friday’s show.