Facebook Letting Users Report Each Other For Gun Sales

Facebook has provided its 1.65 billion users the ability to report other users who they suspect of arranging firearm sales through the social media platform, according to this story from Forbes. This comes after a company announcement earlier this year that it was banning the use of the site to sell firearms or ammunition.

“The new feature allows users to flag for removal posts that appear to be ‘describing the purchase or sale of drugs, guns, or regulated goods.’ The option comes more than three months after Facebook first announced the ban in January, following weeks of complaints from advocates who have taken upon themselves to police the site by reporting instances of gun sales and groups dedicated to buying and selling guns.”

The only way Facebook can enforce its ban is through user reports, and previously, they had to use the site’s existing harassment-reporting functions. Predictably, volunteers affiliated with anti-gun groups like Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.

A Facebook spokesperson, Jodi Seth, said in the story the company began rolling out the gun reporting option in February.

Seth "declined to say when the feature was made more widely available, adding that the company hasn't conducted any 'formal analysis' on how the change has impacted the volume of posts and groups flagged for Facebook's content review team. Facebook says it receives roughly 1 million reports of prohibited content each day," the story says.

Not everyone has been on board with the social media giant's ban. The story says that Facebook's senior director of engineering named Chuck Rossi was helping to bring banned groups back online. About a week after the policy went into effect, the story says Rossi instructed gun page administrators around the country to create a secret "Admin Contact" page where they could gather to vent their frustrations and try and get their groups into compliance. The story says that, with Rossi's help, many of the groups were quickly reinstated.

The story says that Facebook's ban on gun sales hasn't done much to impact gun sales on the site where users keep secret pages that don't show up for most users.

"Stalin would be proud, Mr. Zuckerberg," said one gun owner about Facebook's new policy.