Here’s a scary fact for you. While conducting an investigation into the illegal sale of guns on Facebook, it took VentureBeat reporters less than 15 minutes to set up the purchase of a semiautomatic 7mm rifle and 90 rounds of ammunition (without a background check or even ID) on the social network. That’s less time than it takes to figure out your privacy settings.
Even though Facebook isn’t an e-commerce site and doesn’t allow gun advertising, the market proliferates on private pages. A federal law enforcement officer told VentureBeat, “We look at Facebook and others as emerging threats for unlawful gun transactions in the United States.” In fact, some guns brought on school grounds by minors have been purchased on Facebook.
There arecurrently more than 81,000 signatures on a Change.org petition asking Facebook and Instagram to crack down on the private sale of guns on the social media platforms. It is a cause that has been taken up by Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense In America.
“We are talking with a number of organizations around our policies on guns,” a Facebook spokesman told the LA Times Tuesday.
Of course, Facebook isn’t the only social site with a gun problem. Reddit completed at least 159 firearms transactions in the last six months. A Mother Jones investigation found more than 1,000 listings under the subreddit GunsForSale in that timeframe — some employing background checks, others not.
We can only wait to see what’s in store on Snapchat.