Facebook announced today that the company and its popular photo-sharing subsidiary Instagram will take significant steps to block potentially illegal gun sales through their platforms.
For the first time, the sites will delete reported posts offering to buy or sell guns without background checks – a key indicator that users may be seeking to avoid the life-saving checks that bar minors, felons, the seriously mentally ill and other dangerous people from buying guns.
The sites will also block users under the age of 18 from viewing reported private gun sales posts from individual sellers and any pages used primarily for private gun offers.
The Facebook announcement follows a month-long campaign by Moms Demand Action that drew more than 230,000 supporters who urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to address the growing number of illegal gun sales facilitated by their networks.
Direct discussions took place between officials of Facebook and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan national coalition founded by former Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Thomas Menino.
The moms and mayors’ groups merged in December 2013 to form the largest gun violence prevention organization in the United States.
Last year, the group mounted a campaign on Starbucks that resulted in a statement by CEO Howard Schultz that guns were no longer welcome in his stores.