“Our bill would make it clear that it’s a crime to circumvent a website’s terms of service to sell a firearm.”
— Senator Diane Feinstein (D, CA)
This is ridiculous. One minute social media companies “are private companies and can do what they want,” etc. etc., and the next minute violating their terms of service is a Federal crime?
Let me just add that the social media companies don’t even follow their own dang terms of service. They interpret and apply — or don’t apply — their terms as they see fit depending on politics and celebrity status and whatever other whim and caprice they may feel that day.
For instance, here are Instagram’s terms of service related to firearms. To be clear, this is everything I have ever been able to find in their published ToS or Community Guidelines regarding firearms (the bold was added by me to highlight the relevant parts of this section):
Instagram is not a place to support or praise terrorism, organized crime, or hate groups. Offering sexual services, buying or selling firearms, alcohol, and tobacco products between private individuals […] are also not allowed.
Though it very clearly and explicitly states that buying or selling firearms is only disallowed when it’s between private individuals, my company gets censored all the dang time if we’re even ever-so-slightly “salesy” in a post.
We absolutely cannot mention a price or the fact that a gun is available or anything like that without having the post taken down by Instagram and a warning issued to us with the threat of account deletion. Our account very clearly states that we’re a licensed manufacturer and dealer.
Obviously that “private individuals” clause exists so alcohol companies and tobacco companies can peddle their wares on Instagram. Which they do. Extensively and, by all appearances, without censorship. But when a gun company does anything one hair beyond simply posting pretty photos and so much as hints at the fact that a gun might be for sale? Ban hammer.
Anyway, for more information on this insanity from Feinstein, Menendez, and Scanlon, check out the Firearms Policy Coalition Twitter thread below:
"[Senators Feinstein and Menendez and Rep Scanlon] today introduced… a bill to prevent gun sellers from circumventing technology companies’ terms of service by making it illegal to fraudulently sell firearms and ammunition online." https://t.co/QRzj98wyuC
— Firearms Policy Coalition (@gunpolicy) March 8, 2022