AP Photo/Ben Margot, File
It’s been years since Facebook banned gun sales on their platform. It’s a shame, too. It used to be a good way to buy and sell used firearms. I personally sold a number of firearms when times were ridiculously tight financially.
When they canceled it, there were some silly efforts to circumvent the rules, such as picturing the gun with a can of Coke and selling the can for $400, stuff like that. I didn’t know that Facebook got wise to the efforts, but I stopped seeing them.
I figured most law-abiding citizens tended to follow the rules and went off to other places to sell their guns.
Others didn’t. Despite Facebook’s rules, some are still using the social media platform to sell guns, and a group of Democratic senators is demanding that Facebook crackdown on it.
Fifteen Democratic senators sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg demanding more information regarding the latent sale of firearms on Facebook Marketplace, a practice the company called a “clear violation” of policies.
Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Edward Markey of Massachusetts wrote the letter inquiring about Facebook’s knowledge and policing of the sales, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
“Selling guns on Facebook is a clear violation of our policies. If we catch someone selling guns, we take immediate action,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I applaud Facebook’s commitment to block the sale of firearms on its platforms, but loopholes remain. I’m joining my [Senate Democratic] colleagues in calling on Facebook to monitor and shut down any firearm sales that are slipping through the cracks,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin wrote on Twitter with pictures of the letter.
So what’s happening is that people are posting photos of boxes and cases on Facebook with the price of the firearms themselves. People interested would direct message with the seller to get details and potentially work out a deal.
Such a thing is clearly a violation of Facebook’s rules.
What isn’t clear is just what business it is of these senators in the first place. Facilitating face-to-face transfers isn’t illegal. Facebook opted to ban the practice from its platform voluntarily. They weren’t required to by law, so I fail to see where these legislators have any business making demands of a private entity like Facebook who doesn’t seem to be breaking any laws with this activity.
Now, are people trying to pull a fast one over on Facebook? Probably. There are a thousand ways to do it and people are going to try it. Especially since Facebook is a big, evil corporation firmly in the hip pocket of the anti-gunners out there. It’s not hard to imagine some parties working around the rules however they can.
But Facebook’s rules aren’t laws and people like Menendez and Durbin, along with the rest of their cohort, have no business trying to bully a private company into cracking down on anything. If they see listings they think go against Facebook’s rules, report them. Otherwise, they need to stop trying to use their political offices for nonsense like this.
They have no authority over Facebook and it would serve them right if the social media giant decided to lift its prohibition against gun sales as a middle finger to these busybodies.