Durbin, Senators Blast Facebook's Continued Failure to Monitor and Enforce Gun Sales Ban
U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) joined Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Ed Markey (D-MA), along with 10 of their Senate colleagues, in calling out Facebook for its continued failure to enforce and monitor its own ban on guns sales, pointing to a recent report that shows sellers and buyers have simply moved their transactions to private Facebook groups in order circumvent the social media giant’s own ban.
“Despite 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 Senators wrote in a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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The Senators cited a recent Protocol report detailing Facebook’s failed efforts to track and remove gun sellers who simply move to new private groups when the company shuts them down. The report quotes a former Facebook employee who claims the company sought to get the content down to an “acceptable” level after it recognized it was too difficult to enforce its own gun sales ban due to the “sheer volume” of the content on its platform.
“While we understand that in November 2018 Facebook instituted proactive measures to better identify accounts that violate its gun sale policy, we have concerns that those measures fall short,” the Senators added.
The Senators demanded Zuckerberg answer specific questions to how many private group and individual user accounts Facebook suspends each month for violating the firearm sale policy, and what proactive measures it is taking to ensure that users in private groups are not able to skirt Facebook’s ban on gun sales. Additionally, the Senators want to know what procedures Facebook has in place to stop permanently suspended users and groups from starting a new group or hop to other platforms like WhatsApp or Snapchat to sell guns, and report instances of gun trafficking to appropriate law enforcement.
The letter was also signed by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
The full text of the letter can be found here
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