A Group Of Sad Losers On Twitter Are Reporting Gun Pages On Facebook, And Facebook Is Taking The Pages Down!
In the past month, John Sibley has been responsible for the takedown of more than 1,000 Facebook groups selling guns. He and others are part of a ragtag social media militia of sorts they say are trying to fill a gap in Facebook's gun ban.
They spend their free time reporting private gun sales that still permeate the social network months after Facebook banned the deals. And there are a lot of posts to report. While Sibley's personal tally is on the high side, Mashable spoke to others who flag dozens, even hundreds per week.
What shocks them is how easy it is to find sales and the jaw-dropping number out there. For them, Facebook's ban has rung hollow.
"That announcement in January feels like a pure PR move," Sibley, a New Yorker, who started reporting the sales after the Orlando nightclub shooting said. "It doesn’t change anything, just gets them some good press."
Sibley and others share their victories — and frustrations with Facebook's enforcement — on Twitter, sometimes in the form of screengrabs marking the groups or posts they got removed that day.
It's a way to attract more people to the cause — most of those flagging sales know of each other solely from Twitter — and to shame Facebook into policing their own site. With all its engineering power, they ask, why can't Facebook build an algorithm to target sales? Why can't it sic its employees on offenders without prompting?
How Facebook responds
Facebook generally relies on users to report noncompliant content — not just gun sales — with a few exceptions, such as child pornography and extremism, for efficiency, a company representative told Mashable. Creating an algorithm that targets gun sales could cause several layers of problems, one being that general search terms could capture lots of posts beyond sales that are acceptable under Facebook's standards.
"There is a lot of debate and discussion around firearms that is perfectly allowable and permissible on Facebook and that includes the sale of a new model," the representative said. It's the actual arrangement of a sale that's not allowed, they said.
Beyond that, one could argue that if Facebook made algorithms to crawl its site searching for noncompliant posts, non-offenders, particularly privacy advocates, would be complaining, too.
"We do have content up on Facebook that violates most of our policies at any given point," the representative said. "It's not unique, in that perspective, that this relates to our gun policies. This is why we have people reviewing reports around the clock."