More and more gun sellers are using Facebook marketplace to sell used firearms by disguising them in listing descriptions as “gun cases” and “boxes.” If this sounds incredibly dumb, that’s because it is. As Business Insider reports, Facebook’s marketplace has been around since 2016 and has been criticized for giving criminals a place to sell illegal drugs and weapons.
And here we were thinking the worst thing about Facebook was the cringe posts about break-ups and the deluge of unnecessary, self-obsessed photos.
Even though Facebook’s rules ban selling any guns even BB guns, sellers simply list a gun case for a high price and then say to send a message for more info i.e. for the specs of the gun in question and details of how much ammo comes with it. Reporters, for example, found a $30-value gun case for sale for $950 and, after messaging for more info, were told by the seller that it was an AR-15 with heaps of ammo included. A pleasant surprise!
Apparently Mark Zuckerberg and his Silicon Valley geniuses aren’t smart enough to outwit Billy Bob McBullet and his gun rack. Which would explain why their having such a hard time fending off Russian hackers and such.
This Facebook gun market situation means that various people buying guns on Facebook have an easy way to get around any state-level background checks that currently exist in 12 states. It also basically means what many already may have suspected but can now confirm: Facebook is a completely untrustworthy online Wild West full of who-knows-what. Either that, or ‘Facebook is now spreading freedom and democracy at 30 round per minute’ – Yee-haw!
While it’s true that many of those buying guns on Facebook would probably find ways to buy them through regular routes anyway, the story does raise concerns.
Imagine an individual banned from owning a gun because of a criminal record or arrest record for violent crime signing onto Facebook marketplace and snapping up some top-notch mega firepower in ten minutes.
Add on that he has an obsession with his ex-girlfriend and has been repeatedly viewing her photos with her new boyfriend while making trigger motions with his index finger and swearing like a sailor. It’s not beyond the realm of imagination: in fact, it’s probably what at least 5% of people are doing right now.
Luckily the vast majority will never try to act on their issues. But some could: should Facebook really be being so stupid that it potentially enables that kind of behavior or is this just another example of the “free market” at work and not something that increased regulation would do much to stop? The Dark Web does exist, after all.
Nonetheless, there’s no doubt this is a red flag for Zuckerberg and his pals. Perhaps Facebook should be more Face-shook about this.