Facebook Under the Gun on Guns


Facebook made lots of news when they announced in January that the social network would block all posts promoting private gun sales. The media naturally lapped it up and, as night follows day, Shannon and her host of hoplophobic harridans did handstands at the news. There’s only one problem: the Zuckerborg’s (sic) policy has been an epic fail. Forbes has been tugging on that thread for some time. So has vocativ.com. Here’s their latest salvo . . .

Five months after Facebook unveiled a new policy banning private gun sales, it is still shockingly easy to find and buy a firearm without a background check—even if you’re a convicted arsonist, like the one who spoke to Vocativ.

The ban, implemented in January, prohibits the private, person-to-person sales of guns, but allows gun clubs and licensed dealers to continue to operate Facebook and Instagram accounts. As Vocativ reported in January, the ban didn’t stop the online sale of guns, it just moved several online firearm marketplaces to other social media websites. Now, it appears private marketplaces on Facebook are still flourishing and in many cases do not appear to be adhering to the social network’s gun policy.

At the time of publication, Vocativ found at least a dozen Facebook groups dedicated to selling, trading, and discussing firearms and ammunition, with more being unearthed in our ongoing coverage of online gun groups. Some of these groups posted disclaimers explaining Facebook’s policy, but there is nothing to indicate that sellers are enforcing the required background check. To add to the questionable nature of these transactions, the administrators of many of these groups are not in several of the databases that list names of individuals and businesses with a federal firearm license (FFL), which Facebook requires in order to operate a page that facilitates the sale of firearms.

Unregulated private gun sales? Oh, the humanity! Speaking of sensationalism, vocative.com trots out an anonymous gun buyer — who eventually reveals he almost bought a gun via Facebook — to show just how dangerous Facebook’s anti-gun sales impotence is to Our Way of Life.

We did, however, get in touch with a man who responded to a listing for a 9-milimeter pistol going for $525 in one of the gun groups. He requested anonymity because owning a gun as a prohibited possessor is “a major crime” that comes with “major time,” he said. The man was convicted in 2008 of felony arson. He also has multiple DUIs, and in 2011 he was charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. That charge, he told Vocativ, was dropped—”some guy beating his girl, I stepped in and we both get cut with a knife but I get arrested,” he explained. The man responded to gun listing on May 13, but he told Vocativ that he didn’t go through with the purchase . . .

In one group, a South Carolina man posted a message on Facebook that implied that he was recently released from jail. In others, members use their Facebook pages to post racist, anti-government, far-right imagery, like the Confederate and “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flags, as well as anti-abortion rhetoric.

Anti-abortion rhetoric? Now I’m convinced. Convinced that Facebook is a (literal) poster child for left-leaning liberals for whom “protected speech” is an anathema. Again, Facebook is a private company that has the right to make its users play by their rules. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hold their feet to the fire, just like gun control advocates.


  1. avatar Smoke Jensen says:

    I’m reading nothing but hearsay in this piece written by southern hating, abortion loving, anti-gun, America hating collectivists. Did I get that right?

    1. avatar silverwarloc says:

      pretty much sums it up.

  2. avatar pg2 says:

    Facebook is a social engineering/surveillance tool. It has nothing to do with left, right, conservative, liberal, ect, ect, ect.

  3. avatar pwrserge says:

    Actually, being a private company does not give you the right to mislead your customer base or violate your own terms of service. The recent Facebook assault on legitimate gun pages is an excellent example of contract violations which make them liable for any damages.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      Word to the wise, people: Facebook is worth BILLIONS. If you file suit you will be old and broke and very grey by the time their lawyers get through legal motions and other tricks to prevent the case from being actually adjudicate within your lifetime. They can also afford a stable of the very best lawyers at the very highest prices while you have to settle for Uncle Ernie or your nephew fresh out of law school.

      Filing suit against a multi-billion dollar corporation is a fool’s errand no matter how many underdog cases are shown in Hollywood movies.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        That’s why you have to venue shop. Find a conservative district and file there. See how long it takes the judge to throw the lefties out of court for contempt.

    2. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Liable for damages.
      Maybe they’ll give you your money back.

      1. avatar pwrserge says:

        Not so. When Facebook brings businesses to the platform they make certain agreements about how traffic will be directed. That constitutes a contractual obligation to follow their own terms of service. Right now, they are in breach of their own terms of service. You don’t have to have paid them any significant amounts of money to claim damages as a result of lost traffic.

        1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

          Basic contract law begins with the concept of “mutual consideration.” Both parties need to provide something to the other party, or it’s not a contract.

          Let me know how your lawsuit goes.

        2. avatar pg2 says:

          @curtis, It was a mathematical certainty that eventually we would agree on something.

        3. avatar pyratemime says:

          The consideration with “free” social media is one of information and access. You agree to allowing them to mine your data and sell the information from it and in return they provide you access to the service without monetary compensation.

          Consideration does not need to be cash.

        4. avatar JasonM says:

          Read the agreement. There’s probably something in there that exempts them from any financial liability.

    3. avatar pg2 says:

      Ha, that’s funny.

  4. avatar TyrannyOfEvilMen says:

    Hey, Facebook is against lawful commerce. As they would say in piglatin “uckfay emthey!”

    Go to Gunbroker, Gundistrict, Armslist etc. In the meantime, take the fascists to court.

  5. avatar dph says:

    So an anonymous felon decides not to buy a gun or the owner says sorry no sale to a felon and this is somehow worth writing about. Article is just a hog trough full of garbage thrown together to appease haters, while offering no real proof that anything illegal has happened, and these clowns don’t even know how to spell millimeter.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      The Second Amendment does not include ANY language regarding who may or may not keep and bear arms: “…the right of the people to keep and bear arms…”

      It specifically includes language that prohibits the government from deciding who may keep and bear arms: “…shall not be infringed.”

      If you concede that the very government the Second Amendment was intended to protect you against has the authority to create, maintain and enforce a list of persons who, in the opinion of that government, may not exercise their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, how will you keep your name off of that list?

  6. avatar jk says:

    A majority of FFL holders have registered DBAs (“Doing Business As”) as their public business name, and hold their FFL in a parent company. These idiots never seem to know what they are talking about.

  7. avatar frank says:

    Sounds just like the ongoing bit that in 4 hours you can legally without a background check from the trunk of a car in a Wendys parking lot buy a Bushmaster and 3 pistols illegally……

    Wait…. Convicted felons shouldn’t be allow to NOT buy a gun!

    And, it should be Illegal to buy guns Illegally from the trunk of cars!!

    Whats this world coming to……

    Just think of the children….

    1. avatar frank says:

      Wait! I have an idea!

      We can totally prove that you can get guns fast and easy without a background check.
      I bet I can get at least 10 right now within a half an hour!!

      Just have to break into the gun store and walk out, piece of cake!

      CRAP!! Somebody needs to make some laws against getting guns so easy!!!

      Maybe gun store owners should be forced by the Federal Government to lock their doors and/or report any and all theft to the ATF, yea, thats it, the ATF will help!

      Thank goodness breathing is autonomic…….

      1. avatar Omer Baker says:

        Automatic breathing? That should require an ATF form and a tax stamp.

  8. avatar 16V says:

    The font and the color are very hard on my eyes. Can’t do it.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      The font appears to be the same or nearly the same as that used in almost every newspaper in America and in most books. It’s different than what we’re used to, but hardly unreadable.

      As for the teal banner, not sure that really works all that well. It is better than the blood red they tried for awhile last time they changed the site.

      RF, PLEASE, how do you navigate from one page to the next? Or go back to a previous page?

      1. avatar Mark N. says:

        I had the same question. The “home” button is the The Truth About Guns logo in the upper left hand corner.

  9. avatar Layne says:

    I believe lunch counters were privately owned in the 1960’s as well. We need to stop self-defeating. Facebook has a right to remove their website if they don’t want it used for all lawful purposes.

  10. avatar Bob says:

    The only thing a background check for a firearm is useful for is making it painfully obvious that the justice system/felon reform system is horribly, horribly broken, if not a complete unicorns-exist farce. The idea that you have a list of people so dangerous that you can deny them a enumerated, natural right but still let them live unfettered within free society should make the heads of everyone, explode. The justice system is effectively saying, hey we think this person ‘might’ be ok to live in society again, but we’re really not confident, so we’ll make it so they can’t legally purchase a gun? Why does society have to be quality control for the reformation status of felons?

    You hear the anti, “Well you don’t want a dangerous person to get a gun do you?”. The answer is no, of course I don’t, but I don’t want this dangerous person standing in line with me at the grocery store either. It would be a poor salve on the fact that I was beaten to near death (or to death) by a person on this “list” but they couldn’t get a gun to shoot me.

    If known dangerous people were left incarcerated (or sharing a hole with a bag of quick lime), then they surely couldn’t get a gun (legally or illegally), now could they and background checks for firearms would be completely moot.

  11. avatar Christian says:

    A 9 millimeter pistol, wow they are making them tiny these days. Oh that’s much to small of a gun to hold and shoot correctly.

  12. avatar Ing says:

    Oh, no… Not the (gasp!) Gadsden flag! Quick, clutch your pearls, ladies.

  13. avatar FormerWaterWalker says:

    I belong to numerous FB gun groups. A few have folded in the last 2 months. A few switched to “secret”. I noticed just “discussing” gunz is evil to these dipshites…you wanna’ sell yer gun use Gunbroker, Auction Arms or Armslist. Millions of eyes see these sites. Personally I would never use FB to sell/buy guns-NO ONE is vetted. Anyone use the new gun sites on MeWe or others?

  14. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    “At the time of publication, Vocativ found at least a dozen Facebook groups dedicated to selling, trading, and discussing firearms and ammunition, with more being unearthed in our ongoing coverage of online gun groups.”

    So “discussing” firearms and ammunition is a big ‘no-no’?
    We were mislead. “He whose name shall not be spoken” isn’t Voldemort, it’s GUNS.

  15. avatar Slayer of Sacred Cows says:

    I’ve been using Mewe and it’s finally starting to get some real traction. It’s pretty cool – good interface, no censorship, you own your data, and no gun restrictions! Check it out if you’re sick of facebook. http://www.mewe.com

  16. avatar Phil LA says:

    Free market. You can only change FB by getting off and cutting their ad revenue.

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Ad revenue is not their bread and butter. Their real money comes from back-end API / datamining.

      The data their corporate customers have access to is astonishing.

  17. avatar Wilson says:

    They found one guy on a website that has 1.25 BILLION users and they can’t back up any of the claims that they make about him.

    Color me unimpressed if they did find a bad apple in a group that large and, due to their lack of evidence, skeptical that they did.

  18. avatar Raul Ybarra says:

    Interesting how the Gadsden flag is not equated to the Confederate flag. But that’s how Progressive incrementalism works.

  19. avatar Jim Bullock says:

    So millions of people with hobby or deeper interest in guns are continuing to get together and face-space about their shared interest. Shocking.

    It appears that The Zuck’s absolute, rigorous, kinda-sorta, but let’s walk that back some policy hasn’t instantly reengineered an established culture of centuries, with a population still several times that of his flock of “users”. Again, shocking.

  20. I run a Facebook gun page (www.Facebook.com/OdessaAreaOutdoorGunRange) and while they were taking my ad dollars, promising to reach people, they were actively limiting my post reach and started a very aggressive unlike/de-like campaign against my page where every day Facebook takes likes away. My page was growing at a huge place until Facebook actually noticed then took malicious steps to limit my post reach and page likes. At the same time they were taking my money for paid ads promising me a fair marketplace to reach customers. I find that this is extremely unethical behavior and possibly unlawful. I believe there is grounds for a class action suit, and I don’t want money, I just want then to stop taking malicious actions against things they find politically incorrect such as guns or “conservative thought”. If anyone is interested in forming any kind of plan to approach or litigate the issue I would be happy to participate. My email address is [email protected]

  21. avatar last of the bobs says:

    this was out today !!!

    facebook spying via your smart phone that uses facebook! via the built in mike!


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