Facebook’s Previous Decision Followed Everytown Research Exposing How Online Gun Sales Put Guns in Dangerous Hands, Moms Demand Action Campaigns to Make Social Media Safer for Children, and Months of Conversation Between Everytown and Facebook Leaders
NEW YORK – Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today applauded Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that the company will hire an additional 3,000 employees to review content reported to the company by users. The new staff will focus on enforcing all Facebook policies, which include those relating to unlicensed gun sales and violent crime.
STATEMENT FROM SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA, PART OF EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:
“Moms are grateful for Facebook’s announcement signaling a strong commitment to their effort to end all unlicensed gun sales arranged on their platforms. Three years ago, our campaign to get Facebook to change how its platforms host firearm sales resulted in several policy changes to curb children’s exposure to guns and to clarify state laws around selling and buying guns online. And just last year, after months of discussions between Facebook and Everytown leaders, Facebook took the important step to keep guns out of dangerous hands by vowing to end all unlicensed gun sales arranged on its platform. Since then, we have continued working with Facebook to encourage more deliberate action to enforce its own policy by developing the systems to make it a reality. This increase in staffing affirms Facebook’s leading industry role in gun violence prevention – and shows its commitment to preventing gun violence.”
The increase in staffing comes on top of the 4,500 employees Facebook already has to review content reported to be in violation of the company’s community standards. The company’s staffing expansion follows a recent murder in Cleveland that was broadcast on Facebook Live.
Moms Demand Action led previous campaigns encouraging Facebook and Instagram to make social media safer for children. Nearly three years ago, Moms Demand Action launched a campaign asking Facebook and Instagram to shut down a key avenue that criminals and minors have used to arm themselves and put lives in danger – and Moms kept that conversation going ever since. In barely a month, the 2014 campaign drew more than 230,000 supporters who were concerned that anyone could, with the click of a mouse, find someone willing to sell him a gun with no background check, no questions asked.
As part of the campaign, Moms released a “closer look” video (available here) to riff on Facebook’s 10th anniversary “look back” videos to explain how Facebook’s previous policies made it easy for guns to be bought and sold online without criminal background checks. Moms also brought to light cases of minors and felons buying guns on Facebook.
Facebook took important steps in 2014 by announcing that they would delete any gun ad that mentioned the words “no background check” and block users under 18 from viewing gun posts.
Moms Demand Action has a history of working with national businesses to prioritize gun safety. Past campaigns have garnered hundreds of thousands of supporters to successfully persuade corporate giants like Starbucks, Target, Chipotle, Sonic, Chili’s, and Jack in the Box to publicly announce gun sense policies for their national storefronts. More information on Moms Demand Action’s corporate campaigns is available here.