Today’s New York Times carried a front-page story with the screaming headline, “Joining the Gun Debate, Facebook Bans Private Firearm Sales.”
My response was disbelief. It’s very difficult for me to believe that there are many guns being sold via Facebook. The article quotes one guy who claims he sold guns there. It also cites another case in which a gun allegedly bought over Facebook was used in a shooting. But you will search far and wide (at least in the Times story) to find any statistics supporting the idea that gun sales are a major source of transactions on Facebook.
Compounding the fiasco, Facebook admits they do not monitor conversations via Messenger. Which is where the gun deals would happen. People advertising gun sales (other than the licensed gun dealers who have Facebook pages) are not going to post that information on their timeline. Or anywhere else. Word-of-mouth referral and contact via Messenger and private introductions are far more likely.
This is a public relations stunt cooked up by Mark Zuckerberg and company. Shame on the Times for putting what amounts to an ad on the front page.