Sunday, July 12, 2020
US flag

On Facebook’s ban of private gun sales

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook CEO, responded to President Barack Obama’s recent call to curb unlicensed gun sales, which circumvent routine background checks, by banning private sales of guns on its flagship social network and on Instagram, the New York Times reports.


Facebook announced that it would prohibit private gun sales on its network.

The company announced that it would rely on its vast network of users—the site is visited approximately 1.6 billion times every month—to flag objectionable content and that the site could further block certain users who repeatedly violate the new guidelines or prevent them from posting many types of content the rest of us enjoy.

Facebook already bans the sale of some substances that are legal, including marijuana, and we hold that Facebook, as a corporate citizen, is perfectly within its rights to control traffic on a server that it owns and controls. Legal experts agree that the move is a positive one as well. “Today’s announcement is another positive step toward our shared goal of stopping illegal online gun sales once and for all,” the Times quoted New York’s attorney general, Eric T Schneiderman, as saying in a statement yesterday.

And from a legal standpoint, this isn’t really much different from a corporation like Wal-Mart banning the sale of lemonade by kids on property that it owns and controls. We therefore respect Facebook’s right to restrict activity in this way. Now if we could find a way to enforce Facebook’s ban on cyberbullying, we might have a good social network for kids.

The announcement here is simply one of what Facebook plans to do. Whether users will step up to the company’s wishes remains to be seen, since Facebook doesn’t monitor all the traffic that crosses its network.

“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,” the paper quoted Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of product policy, as saying in a statement. “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.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Voxitatis congratulates the COVID Class of 2020

2020 is unique and, for high school graduates, different from anything they've seen. Proms, spring sports, & many graduation ceremonies are cancelled. Time for something new.

Vertical addition (m3.nbt.2) math practice

3rd grade, numbers and operations in base 10, 2, 3-digit vertical addition practice problem

Rubber ducks (m3.oa.1) math practice

3rd grade, operational and algebraic thinking, 1, rubber ducky modeling practice problem

Distance learning begins as Covid-19 thrives

What we learn during & from coronavirus, a challenging & imminent crisis, will provide insights into so many aspects of our lives.

Calif. h.s. choir sings with social distancing

Performances with the assistance of technology can spread inspiration across the globe even as the coronavirus spreads illness and disease.

Families plan to stay healthy during closures

Although schools are doing what they can to keep students learning and healthy during the coronavirus outbreak, that duty now shifts to parents.

Illinois temporarily closes all schools

IL schools will be closed on Tuesday, March 17, through at least March 30. Schools in 18 states are now closed due to coronavirus.

Coronavirus closures & cancellations

Many schools are closed and sports tournaments cancelled across America during what the president called a national emergency: coronavirus.

Coronavirus closes schools in Seattle

The coronavirus pandemic has caused colleges to cancel classes, and now Seattle Public Schools became the nation's first large district to cancel classes due to the virus.

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.