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Gun control proponents went on a crusade against Facebook and, under increasing pressure, the social media platform agreed to delete posts offering to buy or sell illegal guns. Not only that but Facebook-owned Instagram will also apply same policy.

The new reform will be rolled out in weeks to come, with Facebook saying in a statement that “we will remove reported posts that explicitly indicate a specific attempt to evade or help others evade the law”.

Signs point to minors who are often involved in this kind of illegal trade online. To that end, the world largest social network with 1.3 billion active users, has committed itself to restrict individuals under 18 from viewing posts link to guns and by notifying other users about the present laws on its platform and on subsidiary company, Instagram.

The firm “will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law. For example, private sellers of firearms in the U.S. will not be permitted to specify ‘no background check required,’ nor can they offer to transact across state lines without a licensed firearms dealer,” said Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management, in a press release.

These reforms have cropped up after six months of intensive campaign by gun control groups with the support of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, former Mayor of the town Michael Bloomberg, and the Moms Demand Action group who gathered signatures from 230,000 people, urging Facebook to take action.

According to Schneiderman, “responsible social media sites know that it is in no one’s interest for their sites to become the 21st-century black market in dangerous and illegal goods that place our families and communities at risk.”

However for Facebook, the new reforms were more of a trial, considering that the social media platform believes in the value of openness; “In some cases they promote these products for sale or use, even though it’s not possible to complete a sale on Facebook or Instagram. While we’ve recently heard specific concerns from people about offers for the private sales of firearms, this is one of many areas where we face a difficult challenge balancing individuals’ desire to express themselves on our services, and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere.”

Photo (Wikipedia): Houston Gun Show. Questions have been raised about the promotion of ‘illegal’ guns on Facebook and Instagram, prompting the social media giants to take action.

Source: Forbes, CBS News, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News

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