Facebook Continues Battle Against Gun Content, Will Stop Showing Firearm Accessory Ads To Minors

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Eric Lieberman Deputy Editor
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Facebook recently updated their advertising policies so that firearm accessories can’t be shown to those under the age of 18.

“We already prohibit ads for weapon sales and modifications like magazines,” reads the company’s business page. “However, advertisers have been able to promote other weapons accessories, including products that are mounted on guns for the purposes of illuminating, magnifying or focusing in on (e.g. optics, flashlights) a target as well as holsters and belt accessories.”

Facebook’s already strict policies against gun advertising became apparent in a situation detailed by The Daily Caller News Foundation in which a small town business was stopped by the tech giant from advertising products like American flags or outdoor clothing on the platform because its Facebook page promotes the sales of guns, and includes links that lead to the same.

Examples of what’s acceptable include: “Gun exposition today!” or “blogs or groups connecting people with weapon-related interests, as long as the service doesn’t lead to the sale of these products.”

However, posts with captions like “Cheap firearms: Buy now!” and “weapons of any kind, including pepper spray, knives, tasers, or weapons intended for self-defense,” aren’t allowed, according to Facebook’s rules.

The business in question — located in East Earl, Penn., part of Lancaster County — though didn’t include any such content in its American flag sale promotion. But it was removed, along with all of their advertising capabilities, because their Facebook page incorporated a link to their own website where gun content can be found.

And in keeping consistent, the new rules, which are set to go into effect June 21, enumerates the same rule.

“Blogs or groups connecting people with weapon-related interests, as long as the service doesn’t lead to the sale of these products” are acceptable, the first portion of the policy reads.

The prospect of obstructing gun accessory sponsorship may lead to inappropriate hinderance of items that aren’t truly for firearms, as a number of Facebook’s policies against ads have been misapplied due to ostensible imperfections of algorithms and the shortfalls of human content moderators. (RELATED: Facebook’s Political Ad Rules Seem To Be Already Causing Problems)

But if done correctly, the change will likely be welcomed for a country with many people who think guns are glamorized, or shoved in the faces of the younger generation.

The move comes after Facebook has been peppered with criticism in recent months, specifically that it doesn’t care to limit certain content that could be interpreted as unseemly, or potentially dangerous. With the latest restrictions, Facebook seems to be trying to show that it cares about users’ concerns, especially as the debate over guns has heated up with a spate of high-profile violence in the past few years or so.

“In the weeks ahead, we will be working with businesses and organizations who may be affected by the policy to ensure they know about them and make the appropriate changes,” the post concludes.

Facebook did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment in time for publication.

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