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Gun Giveaways and Facebook: Does Site Allow Them?

Image: Gun Giveaways and Facebook: Does Site Allow Them?
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By    |   Sunday, 16 Nov 2014 12:47 PM

Social media giant Facebook does allow for the promotion of gun giveaways and other firearm raffles by its users. However, the site also has a history of holding Facebook users to strict terms of service rules and will not hesitate to temporarily take down or permanently remove any page that violates those rules.

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For example, in 2013, Pittsburgh's Action News reported on a story in which Facebook shut down the page of a Pennsylvania firearms store that was promoting a gun giveaway in support of the Second Amendment. Erik Lowry, the owner of Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms, was giving away an AR-15 rifle and a significant amount of protective gear. According to a report by The Huffington Post, in a radio interview Lowry said the AR-15 rifle could be used by customers to "defend themselves from a tyrannical government."

Although Lowry's statement might have been considered controversial, it was not his statement but an article that was posted about his Facebook page that caused the social media site to shut it down. According to Lowry, that article contained "misinformation about his giveaway practices." Apparently Facebook did not agree that it was misinformation and took the page down.

The article was the result of an investigation into gun giveaways by the website Vocative. According to Vocative staff, its investigation caused Facebook to take down "the pages of at least five groups that were giving away guns — including AR-15 military-style rifles."

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Gun giveaways are allowed on Facebook but the terms of service for the site must be stringently followed. According to Facebook's Page Terms, if a page is used to "communicate or administer a promotion" the user is "responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion" including official rules, terms, and eligibility requirements. In addition, Facebook has strict ad guidelines which state, "Ads may not promote the sale or use of weapons, ammunition, or explosives."

One weapons news site owner who had his Facebook page taken down says he was advised that users can't be forced to "like" a page as an entry requirement into a gun giveaway and that the sales of weapons cannot be promoted.

An abundance of retailers and activists promoting gun giveaways use Facebook as a landing site and for the most part, as long as they comply with the site's terms of service, their pages remain active. However, as the issue of gun control remains controversial and Facebook's terms of service leave very little wiggle room, those posting gun giveaways should be up to date on all of the social media site's rules and regulations.

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Social media giant Facebook does allow for the promotion of gun giveaways and other firearm raffles by its users. However, the site also has a history of holding Facebook users to strict terms of service rules.
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2014-47-16
Sunday, 16 Nov 2014 12:47 PM
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