So, last week there was a big fuss on Facebook about whether or not Facebook was banning airsoft from appearing on it’s social media platform. The fuss seems to have stemmed from the inclusion of Airsoft guns, bb guns, and air guns into the Facebook’s definition of a firearm, which in turn, then restricts the private sale of said items through Facebook. Is this a banning of Airsoft from the platform… No. It is just the banning of second hand sales effectively.
Facebook’s Ban of Airsoft Sales
Basically what Facebook has done is banned the private sale of second hand firearms over Facebook. You know those little groups we have set up for selling and trading airsoft guns?! Well the real steel firearms community have, or had, the same set-up as we did for trading second hand firearms. Now, in a bid to reduce the illegal sales of second hand firearms over the internet, Facebook decided to ban this process and remove any groups carrying out second hand sales from non authorised dealers, and I can see why they have done this. The most obvious reason for this ban, to me at least, is self preservation. Facebook can now effectively remove themselves from any legal problems resulting in a second hand gun being bought over Facebook and then being used for crime. Us selling second hand guns over the social media network makes them little to no money at all, but can cause them immense problems if one of those guns is then used to commit crime. What this has to do with airsoft is actually quite simple. By banning all and everything that looks like a gun from being sold in a private sale over Facebook, they are effectively creating less work for themselves. If they had of left airsoft alone on Facebook, I have no doubt that eventually people will be selling real firearms, but listing them as airsoft guns to circumvent Facebook’s rules. Had that been the case, then Facebook would now have to sift through all sales of imitation firearms, etc, etc, to ensure that they are not real firearms disguised as toys. And if you think that is unlikely, just look at how quickly everyone changed the name of their group, or the way they worded their sales advert within the airsoft community to try and circumvent Facebook’s new rules!
Facebook’s Actual Rules Regarding Airsoft
Facebook has’t banned airsoft, or the word gun, as some people have suggested. All they’ve done is include airsoft guns in their own definition of a firearm, which in turn now bans the private sale of airsoft guns, along with firearms, from non authorised dealers. What is considered a firearm in the list of Facebook Community Standards Regulated Goods are
- “BB guns
- Airsoft guns
- Air guns
- Air rifles
- Paintball markers
- Firearm replicas
- Non-functioning firearms”
And the Facebook Community Standards states,
“We prohibit any attempts by unauthorised dealers to purchase, sell or trade prescription drugs, marijuana or firearms. If you post an offer to purchase or sell alcohol, tobacco or adult products, we expect you to comply with all applicable laws and carefully consider the audience for that content. We do not allow you to use Facebook’s payment tools to sell or purchase regulated goods on our platform.”
So basically you, me and Joe Bloggs down the street can’t sell our airsoft guns on Facebook anymore. Airsoft in general doesn’t seem to have been affected, except for the removal of a few groups here and there, and from their own community guidelines, it doesn’t look like that will change. Put simply, to sell one of your guns, you’ll need to use a forum, like before, or other means and not Facebook.