Users now have the option to do what they couldn’t when the company announced it was banning the sale of guns and ammunition through the site earlier this year: report suspected sales.
The social media giant recently rolled out a new feature that allows users to flag posts that appear to be “describing the purchase or sale of drugs, guns or regulated goods.” The option comes more than three months after Facebook first announced the ban in January, following weeks of complaints from advocates who have taken it upon themselves to police the site by reporting instances of gun sales and groups dedicated to buying and selling guns. Previously, advocates had to report suspected sales as “harassment” or as a “credible threat of violence,” options that aren’t always clear and could make it more difficult for members of Facebook’s content review team to distinguish banned content.
Facebook spokeswoman Jodi Seth said the company began rolling out the option to users in February, shortly after the new policy went into effect. She declined to say when the feature was made more widely available, adding that the company hasn’t conducted any “formal analysis” on how the change has impacted the volume of posts and groups flagged for Facebook’s content review team. Facebook says it receives roughly 1 million reports of prohibited content each day; it’s unclear what percentages of those involve suspected gun sales.