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Facebook to ban private gun sales on social networks

By Daniel Uria   |   Jan. 30, 2016 at 3:11 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Facebook moved to ban private gun sales on the social network as well as mobile photo app Instagram on Friday.

The ban will prevent Facebook and Instagram users from making posts that offer or coordinate the private sale of firearms, gun parts and ammunition. It is similar to the site's policy on the sale of pharmaceuticals, marijuana and other illegal drugs.

"Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another," Facebook's head of product policy Monika Bickert said. "We are continuing to develop, test and launch new products to make this experience even better for people and are updating our regulated goods policies to reflect this evolution."

The ban represents a step up from Facebook's attempt at regulating gun sales in March 2014, when they blocked minors from seeing posts about gun transactions and required gun selling pages to remind users to comply with gun laws. The new ban on gun posts does not apply to licensed gun dealers who advertise on Facebook.

Facebook announced that it would rely on user reports to identify violations of the new rules on public posts as well as through the site's private messaging feature, which the company does not monitor. Those found in violations could be banned from the social network. Facebook said it would work with law enforcement in life threatening situations.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman praised the move to crack down on illegal gun sales.

"Today's announcement is another positive step toward our shared goal of stopping illegal online gun sales once and for all," he said.

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