Facebook blocks unlicensed gun sales

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SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook has banned people using the social network for unlicensed gun sales after pressure from anti-gun violence groups alarmed over the ease with which firearms are sold online in the United States.

Although Facebook and its Instagram photo-sharing service do not participate in outright gun sales, the sites have been a forum for negotiations.

The California-based social network on Friday updated its policy for managing regulated goods to prohibit people who aren’t gun dealers from using Facebook to offer guns for sale or negotiate private sales of firearms.

“Over the last two years, more and more people have been using Facebook to discover products and to buy and sell things to one another,” Facebook head of product policy Monika Bickert said in an email response.

The policy change, however, will not affect licensed gun dealers who tout their wares on the social network, which is used by 1.59 billion people monthly.