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Forbes: 5 Reasons Why Facebook's Ban on Gun Sales Isn't Working

Forbes: 5 Reasons Why Facebook's Ban on Gun Sales Isn't Working

By    |   Monday, 09 May 2016 05:23 PM

Facebook’s attempt to ban the sale of guns and ammunition on the site isn’t working as firearm enthusiasts continue to wheel and deal “underground” with the site’s “secret” group settings, Forbes.com reported.

The secret settings make it impossible for non-members to access the pages.

Forbes' Matt Drange spotlighted 5 reasons why Facebook hasn’t deterred gun sales:

Facebook users police themselves
Facebook doesn’t actively seek out prohibited content on the site, partly because of the sheer volume of posts — millions of pieces of new content each day from the 1.6 billion users — and partly because the company doesn’t want to be seen as "Big Brother," fearing that will cause users to leave the site, Forbes' Drange reported. “We do not have an algorithm or people that proactively monitor accounts for violating content,” a Facebook spokeswoman told Forbes.com.

Do you want to know a secret?
It’s up to users to police Facebook for suspected gun sales, but with gun enthusiast groups increasingly moving underground it’s unclear if that approach can be effective. The majority of sales now take place in private groups that are increasingly moving to “secret.” Secret groups, like the one led by Facebook engineering director Chuck Rossi, don’t appear in search results on the site; members must manually add new users, Forbes' Drange reported.

Facebook doesn’t have option for reporting gun sales
Users are left to flag advertisements as “harassment” or as a “credible threat of violence,” distinctions that aren’t always clear, advocates say, and make it more difficult for members of Facebook’s content policy team to distinguish banned content, Forbes' Drange reported.

Gun sellers advertise in clandestine ways
Techniques include posting a photo of a gun next to another, benign object. Another common trick is to simply change the name of your group, going from “Guns & Ammo,” for example, to “Buns & Cammo,” Forbes' Drange reported.

Inside help
"Chuck Rossi has been at Facebook for the past eight years, and is now a director of engineering. He’s also the company’s self-proclaimed ‘gun guy,’ a certified range instructor, competitive marksman and member of Silicon Valley’s Sunnyvale Rod & Gun Club. But it’s Rossi’s more recent, unofficial role as advocate for banned gun enthusiast groups that’s making trouble for Facebook by undermining, perhaps unwittingly, the company’s new policy," Forbes' Drange reported.

"Rossi is the established leader of the Admin Contact group on Facebook, a secret collection of gun enthusiast page owners from around the country. Thanks to Rossi, whose stated purpose is to bring groups into compliance with the company’s new rules, many of these groups have been reinstated. But sales in some of the reinstated groups have continued, while many have taken the opportunity of a second lease on the site to change settings from “private” to “secret.”

The distinction is critical considering Facebook’s enforcement of its ban is entirely dependent on users’ ability to report suspected violations. Facebook declined to comment after Forbes identified Rossi’s role in facilitating the reinstatement of banned gun groups."

Regardless of the Facebook ban, April saw the most gun-related background checks of any April on record, making it the 12th month in a row to achieve a high water mark for gun sales, The Washington Free Beacon reported.

The FBI ran 2,145,865 checks through the National Instant Background Check System last month, according to the agency’s records. "That represents more than a 400,000 increase over the previous record set in April 2014. Though the numbers represent the best April on record, the month also saw the fewest checks of any month thus far in 2016," the Free Beacon reported.

“This record setting firearm sales trend will continue all the way to Election Day,” Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, told the Free Beacon. “If Hillary Clinton wins, firearm sales will really go through the roof. Gun owners and people concerned about personal security have lost trust in the political class to protect their rights.”

(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).

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Facebook's attempt to ban the sale of guns and ammunition on the siteisn't working as firearm enthusiasts continue to wheel and deal"underground" with the site's "secret" group settings, Forbes.com reported.
facebook, gun sales, forbes, firearms
Monday, 09 May 2016 05:23 PM
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