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 Elliot ZuckerbergZuckerberg, Gates team up to contribute M for research into coronavirus treatments Health experts embrace social media to fight coronavirus Hillicon Valley: Facebook launches portal for coronavirus information | EU sees spike in Russian misinformation on outbreak | Senate Dem bill would encourage mail-in voting | Lawmakers question safety of Google virus website 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) MenendezHillicon Valley: Facebook launches portal for coronavirus information | EU sees spike in Russian misinformation on outbreak | Senate Dem bill would encourage mail-in voting | Lawmakers question safety of Google virus website Democratic senators press Google over privacy of coronavirus screening site Menendez calls for 'Marie Yovanovitch bill' to protect foreign service employees MORE (D-N.J.) and Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyOvernight Energy: Critics blast EPA move as 'license to pollute' during pandemic | Trump expected to roll back Obama mileage standards| Group plans to sue over rollback of water law Hillicon Valley: Twitter says Chinese official's virus disinformation doesn't violate rules | Hackers target WHO | Senators urge agencies to stop coronavirus robocalls Senators urge FCC, DOJ to combat coronavirus robocalls 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.