Facebook Bans Private Gun Sales
While the foray into e-commerce has been overly successful and lucrative for the likes of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB), not all online-shopping exchanges have been met positively. The public has taken advantage of these platforms to buy and sell items without the arduous process of background checking— items such as firearms.
According to Tech Insider, "People could simply message each other to either buy or sell guns […] [T]his especially goes for Facebook's private messaging service Facebook Messenger, since Facebook does not read the content of messages sent on that platform."
E-commerce Isn't Getting The Hack, It's Instigating Needed Regulation
While Facebook continues to facilitate in e-commerce transactions, the site recognizes the implications of having an open platform, particularly one that is available to minors. Therefore, acknowledging the potential for misuse, Facebook has made additional steps to limit the sale of particular items through its site and affiliate sites, like Instagram.
According to the New York Times, head of product policy Monika Bickert commented, "Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another […] We are continuing to develop, test and launch new products to make this experience even better for people and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution."
A Facebook spokesperson commented that "Facebook's progression toward on-site payments underscored the need to update the company's content policy," paraphrased the New York Times.
Updated Policy Limits The Sales Of Guns
This newest step in limiting e-commerce now adds weapons to the growing list of prohibited sales via Facebook. Therefore, in addition to the current ban on pharmaceuticals, illegal drugs and marijuana, Facebook has made progressive steps toward banning person-to-person sales of firearms.
While dealers, sellers and clubs that have licenses to sell will be able to keep their Facebook presence, the policy now prohibits unlicensed gun sales.
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman commented, "Today's [Friday, January 29, 2016] announcement is another positive step toward our shared goal of stopping illegal online gun sales once and for all," according to the New York Times.
Early Monday afternoon, the White House announced its support of Facebook's ban.
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