Facebook Shuts Down Gun Seller Page, Did It Violate the Second Amendment?
An internet site, calling themselves a news site, published a story about Facebook giveaways. Specifically, they were targeting the gun industry. The story they published named several key players in the AR15 industry as somehow negligent on their Facebook giveaways and somehow they were violating Facebook policy. How many companies on Facebook make a post saying "Like this photo and be entered into a drawing," or perhaps "like this page and be entered into a drawing." This is simple cross-promotion between companies and is done quite frequently in other marketing avenues for products ranging from beauty supplies to pet products.
The article implied that these firearm companies are doing giveaways and then simply shipping the winner an AR15. This is patently untrue. These firearm companies are required to hold a Federal Firearms License (FFL) and must abide by all the laws set forth, even state laws. When a firearm is shipped, it legally cannot be shipped directly to a person's home. It has to go directly from one FFL holder to another FFL holder. Additionally, the person must go through a NCIS background check before the firearm is ever shipped.
Facebook got wind of the story. Facebook decided to systematically shut down the Facebook pages of AR15news.com, a large gun enthusiast community, 556 Tactical, and a manufacturer in Pennsylvania. AR15news.com's Facebook page had over 48,000 followers. That is an audience of 48,000 people they market to every day. That is 48,000 advocates for their website, gone in one fell swoop by Facebook.
Many gun enthusiasts were instantly trying to figure out why these pages disappeared and what was happening. People began surmising that Facebook was shutting down pro Second Amendment pages in the wake of the Boston Marathon and failed gun control legislation.
What really happened, is www.voactiv.com was harassing the owner of AR15news.com about their story and asking him to answer questions. The owner of AR15news.com claims that he simply asked if www.voactiv.com supported the Second Amendment or not and that would determine if he would answer questions. Representatives from www.voactiv.com emailed the owner and called him for over a week seeking comment, yet would not tell him their feelings on the Second Amendment. The hit piece was published, and Facebook took down the pages of every company named in the article, with no warning and no explanation. There was an outcry from the gun community, AR15news.com created a new page, and had over a fourth of their "likers" back within hours.
Apparently, vocativ.com is proud of harming these companies. They are bragging about it with a new story. Additionally, they are pointing out that one of the targets of their hit piece is continuing giveaways on their private company site.
Facebook now claims they are investigating.