Lawmaker urges social media leaders to step up efforts to keep online and offline communities safe


Boston (August 23, 2016)  – Last month, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) wrote to Facebook and Instagram concerning the sale of firearms on their social media platforms. Earlier this year, both Facebook and Instagram announced that they would prohibit listings offering peer-to-peer gun sales, but media reports show that users are still able to pursue those sales through the social media platforms. In November 2013, Senator Markey wrote to Instagram urging the online photo and video sharing service to prohibit its use to enable firearms sales, consistent with policies adopted by other popular online marketplace entities.

After receiving Facebook and Instagram’s response to his most recent letter, Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, released the following statement:

“Facebook and Instagram must continue to strengthen their resolve to end peer-to-peer gun sales through their platforms. Despite the companies’ policies prohibiting those sales, it remains too easy for users to solicit and conduct private gun sales through Facebook and Instagram.


“While I commend the platforms’ facilitating the reporting of prohibited content related to gun sales by users, I urge Facebook and Instagram to redouble their efforts to develop and deploy technology that can enforce their gun-sales ban without relying so heavily on user reporting. Facebook and Instagram’s ban on private firearms sales should have the teeth it needs to be effective, so that it can truly prevent guns from falling into the hands of those who should not have them.


“I look forward to working with Facebook and Instagram in the effort to ensure that our online and offline communities are safe for all.”

Facebook’s response to Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE.