Dem raises fresh concerns about Facebook gun sales

Dem raises fresh concerns about Facebook gun sales

Massachusetts Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyUnder pressure, Democrats cut back spending House passes bills to secure telecommunications infrastructure Emanuel to take hot seat in Senate confirmation hearing MORE (D) said on Wednesday he was concerned that guns could still be purchased on Facebook and its subsidiary Instagram, despite the company’s attempts to stem firearm sales on the platforms.

He specifically referenced his staff’s ability to find postings for guns on the platforms, as well as the man responsible for the fatal shooting of five police officers in Dallas, as evidence that not enough had changed.

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"I write concerned that, despite previous assurances that both Facebook and Instagram would be taking steps to prohibit firearms sales on their social media platforms, these sales remain possible,” he said in a letter.

"I urge you once again to take immediate measures to prevent illegal firearms sales through Facebook and Instagram.”

He asked for more information from both Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his Instagram counterpart, Kevin Systrom.

"We prohibit people from using Facebook and Instagram to offer and coordinate private sales of firearms," said a spokesperson for both companies. "Any content that violates this policy will be removed as soon as we become aware of it — whether it is in groups, on accounts, or on pages."

Facebook announced earlier this year that it was banning private gun sales on its platform and on Instagram. The rules did not apply to licensed gun dealers doing business on the platform.

The announcement of the ban followed a 2014 effort by the company to crack down on sales at the urging of gun control groups.

—Updated at 5:58 p.m.