Social networking giant Facebook is moving to block pages and users that facilitate private person-to-person gun sales, in an effort to clamp down on the exchange of unlicensed weapons. The ban applies to individuals, though licensed dealers can still keep their pages active on the Facebook website and Instagram.
According to the New York Times, Facebook, with its user base of 1.6 billion people, is a huge marketplace for guns and was quickly becoming the go-to destination for people who were looking to buy the weapons quickly and covertly. Individual sellers were earlier allowed to advertise freely on Facebook, and had in fact threatened to step up their social network presence after United States President Barack Obama said he would tighten unlicensed gun sales.
Now, Facebook says it has added private gun sales to the list of transactions already banned on the site, which include marijuana, illegal drugs and pharmaceuticals. The company expects its massive user base to report any violations of its new rule. Facebook will delete pages and severely limit the sellers’ activity on the site, it said. The company also plans to get law enforcement officials involved if it comes to light that someone’s life is in danger.