This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Facebook Launches New Age Restrictions After Criticism Over Guns

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Facebook (FB - Get Report), responding to criticism over its perceived involvement in the sale of firearms, has decided to impose age restrictions on some promotional items on the over-billion member social network and its sister photo-sharing site, Instagram. Now, only Facebook and Instagram users over the age of 18 will have access to posts promoting sales of regulated items such as firearms.

Facebook said its change in policy was a response to criticism from users over the advertising of firearms sales on the social network, but that the decision will impact many other promotions and advertisements on the social network.

Congress to Launch Probe into Escort and Prostitution Services on Twitter

Facebook added it will not allow any postings of regulated items that contain language that may help people evade the law. That specification is focused on the sale of firearms.

"[P]rivate sellers of firearms in the U.S. will not be permitted to specify "no background check required," nor can they offer to transact across state lines without a licensed firearms dealer," Facebook said.

The move comes after Facebook received heavy criticism from former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's advocacy group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, over its perceived involvement in illegal gun sales.

In announcing policy changes, Facebook said it worked with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Sandy Hook Promise, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Moms Demand Action in building new policies surrounding the promotion of firearm sales on the social network.

Must Read: Yahoo! Says No To Facebook, Google Sign-Ins

"People sometimes use our free tools to discuss products that are regulated or controversial. In some cases they promote these products for sale or use, even though it's not possible to complete a sale on Facebook or Instagram," Facebook said. 

The Mark Zuckerberg-run company made a point on Wednesday to say that it's policy change won't just impact firearm sales.

"While we've recently heard specific concerns from people about offers for the private sales of firearms, this is one of many areas where we face a difficult challenge balancing individuals' desire to express themselves on our services, and recognizing that this speech may have consequences elsewhere."

To gain a better balance, Facebook said on Wednesday that anytime it's alerted of a post promoting the private sale of a commonly regulated item such as a firearm, the company will send a reminder of relevant laws and regulations and will also limit access to that post to people over the age of 18.

Regulated items include firearms; however, Facebook didn't disclose other products that might be affected. Similar requirements will also extent to Facebook Page profiles.

Presently, Facebook does not permit advertising for illegal drugs, tobacco products, prescription pharmaceuticals, and weapons. The company also restricts advertising for products such as alcohol, adult products, and gaming. The company also said on Wednesday it has systems in place to review and remove advertising that violates our policies, is false, deceptive, or misleading.

Other changes announced on Wednesday include an in-app education on Instagram for those who search for sales or promotions of firearms.

"As always, we encourage people who see anything that violates our policies to report it to us using the tools found throughout our services. Facebook and Instagram will continue to remove content, and notify law enforcement where appropriate, when we are notified about things shared on our services that suggest a direct, credible risk to others' safety. We will also continue to strictly enforce our advertising policies."

Facebook shares were trading nearly 4% higher in Wednesday afternoon trading.

See TheStreet's investigation into prostitution on Twitter, and what Congress is doing about it.

-- Written by Antoine Gara in New York

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
FB $104.25 -1.10%
AAPL $118.40 0.50%
GOOG $743.96 -0.84%
TSLA $230.35 -0.54%
YHOO $33.81 2.60%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,719.92 -78.57 -0.44%
S&P 500 2,080.41 -9.70 -0.46%
NASDAQ 5,108.6660 -18.8590 -0.37%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs