The Facebook & Instagram Gun Speech Ban Issue

Facebook has released their statement on the effort by anti-gun groups to ban speech & photos by gun owners. The other side is going to declare a win because they are recognized by Facebook for their efforts. In reality, the only impact is that if a post gets “reported” as being any kind of regulated product (not just firearms) for sale, the poster will be reminded that they should follow applicable laws.

That’s it. Facebook will pop up a message reminding you that you should follow the law if you post a gun for sale and someone complains to them about it. They won’t ban the speech. They won’t ban the images. They won’t even ban promotions of guns for sale at all.

The only speech-related restriction is that they say they will interpret phrases like “no background check required” as being a possible tip off that the seller may be willing to help others evade the law. They don’t require that private sellers agree to run a background check, just that they don’t make “no background check” a selling point of their firearm.

Under these rules, NRA can still do their gun contests, and local Friends committees can still promote the guns they’ll be giving away to FNRA dinner attendees. You can even still post that you’re going to sell a gun privately. The only thing is that Facebook can tell anyone who complains about the posts that they sent a reminder to follow the law.

If the anti-gunners had truly gotten what they wanted – a ban on firearm images or promotions of any kind – we would have completely pulled our personal and community Facebook accounts and no longer visited the site. I suspect that many of the millions of gun owners on the site would have done the same, and that’s not something Facebook can afford. It is, at best, a pyrrhic victory for the other side.

8 thoughts on “The Facebook & Instagram Gun Speech Ban Issue”

  1. Now, please for the love of John Moses Browning, will our side please not Starbucks this? Facebook has essentially done the same think the coffee chain did: declared neutrality. This is really all we should hope for.

    1. Thankfully, Starbucking this seems to be a bit of a challenge. Short of spamming FB and instagram with want ads for gun sales.

      I mean gun folks already often fill their Walls and what-nots with gun picutres and gun politics and shooting the breeze about shooting and the like.

  2. It’ll be interesting how deeply they examine the “ads” to verify any “violations.”

    If I post that I have a gun for sale and put up a “No Checks” statement (referring to acceptable methods of payment – no personal checks), you KNOW they antis will scream “Illegal Gun Sale!!!11!1!!” ad nauseam (even amending it to “No personal checks” might get their knickers in a bunch; criminal backgrounds are by definition “personal”). I just wonder if the FB admins will bother to check the context if they receive a “complaint.”

    Kind of a moot point – all the ad poster will receive is a reminder to follow applicable laws – but it’s still something to think about.

  3. How much longer is Facebook going to be the 500-lb gorilla of social media? I won’t got there, even my sister quit them, and I have more friends who are also abandoning it. There’s a whole host of reasons to NOT support anything the Zuckerberg kid does.

  4. “(even amending it to “No personal checks” might get their knickers in a bunch; criminal backgrounds are by definition “personal”)”

    Change the ad to use positive language: “I accept cash, money order, and gold/silver buillon”

    Plus you can use the British spelling of Cheques.

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