Democrats hit Facebook over gun sales on platform

Democrats hit Facebook over gun sales on platform
© Stefani Reynolds

A group of Democratic senators sent a letter Thursday pressing Facebook over private gun sales on the platform.

"[D]espite Facebook’s ban of gun sales on its platforms, users are nonetheless able to facilitate firearm transactions in private Facebook groups specifically designed to skirt Facebook’s ban on firearm sales,” the 13 senators wrote in the letter to Facebook CEO Mark ZuckerbergMark ZuckerbergCan our nation afford higher interest rates with the current national debt? Hillicon Valley — States probe the tech giants Executives personally signed off on Facebook-Google ad collusion plot, states claim MORE.

Facebook first banned the sale of firearms on the platform in 2016, then in 2018 it added proactive measures to identify sellers after pressure from lawmakers.

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"We have concerns that those measures fall short," the lawmakers lead by Sens. Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezSenators huddle on Russia sanctions as tensions escalate Schumer requests Senate briefing on Ukraine amid Russia tensions Democrats face scaled-back agenda after setbacks MORE (D-N.J.) and Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden comments add momentum to spending bill's climate measures  Overnight Energy & Environment — Starting from 'scratch' on climate, spending bill Overnight Health Care — White House boosts mask availability MORE (D-Mass.) wrote in the letter to Facebook.

The senators are demanding answers to a series of questions — including how many private groups Facebook has banned for violating the firearm sale policy and how the company coordinates with law enforcement — by March 12.

The letter cites a report from Protocol, a tech news website, that found several groups where users were swapping weapons or arranging their sale.

Users in those groups explicitly said that weapons posted were not for sale, but then would negotiate deals using Messenger.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.