Facebook has banned private gun sales on their site. They were a large gun market, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Although Facebook was not directly involved in gun sales, it has served as a forum for gun sales to be negotiated, without people having to undergo background checks. The social network, with 1.6 billion monthly visitors, had become one of the world’s largest marketplaces for guns and was increasingly evolving into an e-commerce site where it could facilitate transactions of goods,” said Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Peer-to-peer guns sales will no longer be allowed on Facebook or Instagram. Licensed gun dealers can still maintain Facebook pages and advertise, but transactions must occur outside of Facebook.
In response, some Facebook users have expressed frustration that Facebook is censoring their activity.
“I don’t really feel like that is Facebook’s place. It’s kinda a public place,” Ashley Burns, sophomore family and human services major, said.
While it is legal in the U.S. to purchase guns without a licensed dealer, this allows the purchaser to get around background checks, which have recently become a hot issue.
Grace Nast, a student at John Brown University who has bought products online through Facebook, said that Facebook is making a move in the right direction. She said it is easy to sell and buy things on Facebook and that guns need to be more restricted.
Nast said that Facebook is following the lead of other websites in response to the hot-button issues. She mentioned that eBay and Craigslist do not allow gun sales on their websites.
Nast said she understands why the decision may bother people, but said that people will still be able to purchase guns through other avenues.
The decision could have an effect on terrorism. According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology review “last month, a report surfaced that a significant amount of black market arms dealing in Iraq was conducted through Facebook.” The article also explained that it has not been confirmed whether this change will affect countries other than the U.S.
Despite the change, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology review said that recent reports “suggest that many private advertisements had not yet been taken down.”