Under pressure from law enforcement and advocacy groups, Facebook took steps to regulate gun sales on its site as well as on its photo-sharing app Instagram, reports the New York Times. Pages advertising guns for sale will be shielded from minors. Facebook does not want its growing prominence as a private gun mall to alienate users or to limit free speech. If the company hoped its announcement would satisfy everyone and make the issue disappear, the plan backfired.
Gun control groups applauded the changes, as did Michael Bloomberg, who is making gun control a visible element of his career after serving as New York City mayor. the National Rifle Association said the changes were so insignificant that Bloomberg had “failed.” Daniel Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said little had been achieved. “I wouldn't even call this a meaningful first step,” he said. “There's a simple solution here. Facebook should be prohibiting any post that advertises the unlicensed sale or transfer of firearms in the U.S.”