Democratic Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Edward Markey of Massachusetts wrote the letter inquiring about Facebook’s knowledge and policing of the sales, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
“Selling guns on Facebook is a clear violation of our policies. If we catch someone selling guns, we take immediate action,” a Facebook spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I applaud Facebook’s commitment to block the sale of firearms on its platforms, but loopholes remain. I’m joining my [Senate Democratic] colleagues in calling on Facebook to monitor and shut down any firearm sales that are slipping through the cracks,” Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin wrote on Twitter with pictures of the letter.
I applaud Facebook’s commitment to block the sale of firearms on its platforms, but loopholes remain. I’m joining my @SenateDems colleagues in calling on Facebook to monitor and shut down any firearm sales that are slipping through the cracks. pic.twitter.com/3iZxhyqvve
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) September 6, 2019
Facebook users were selling guns on the website’s second-hand shop feature, Marketplace, against Facebook policy by listing gun cases or boxes for the price of actual guns, TheWSJ originally reported in August.
Buyers would allegedly privately message sellers for more details not listed on the public Marketplace postings.
“Effective monitoring and the suspension of accounts in violation of these policies is essential,” lawmakers wrote in their letter to Zuckerberg, which Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar signed.
The Facebook spokesperson also told the DCNF its automated Marketplace system is “evolving” to include human reviewers who work to catch content and keywords that violate the company’s policies.
Reports of the letter come the same day New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an antitrust probe by eight state attorneys general into Facebook’s alleged monopoly threat and anti-competitive business practices.
“Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers. I am proud to be leading a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in investigating whether Facebook has stifled competition and put users at risk,” James said Friday.
The letter also came after a summer plagued by mass shootings across the United States. Most recently, a gunman using an allegedly illegally purchased, homemade gun on a shooting rampage in Odessa, Texas, killed seven and wounded 25 others Aug. 31.
Two shootings that took place in late July in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, left over 30 people dead.
Facebook did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
By Audrey Conklin
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