New report reveals people are selling Glocks and semi-automatic guns on Facebook Marketplace by disguising them as 'stickers'

Tom Williams/CQ Roll CallFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify before a House Energy and Commerce Committee in Rayburn Building on the protection of user data on April 11, 2018.
  • Facebook’s commerce policy prohibits private individuals selling guns, ammunition, and explosives on the platform.
  • But sellers have found a new workaround, according to The Wall Street Journal: disguising listings for firearms by selling them as “stickers” and then offering guns to prospective buyers via direct message.
  • Facebook Marketplace, where users can list classified ads for furniture, real estate, and more, has struggled to regulate unscrupulous sellers and illegal goods since its launch in 2016.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Facebook Marketplace, the tech-giant’s response to Craigslist, continues to be used to sell second-hand firearms, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Although Facebook’s commerce policy prohibits private individuals selling guns, ammunition, and explosives on the platform, sellers have a new workaround, according to the report: disguising advertisements for Glocks and semi-automatic firearms by listing them as “stickers.”

Sellers posted listings advertising, “.040 sticker” or “great little sticker, 22 inches,” for hundreds of dollars, then sent direct messages to prospective buyers confirming that they were selling a .40 calibre Glock or .22 semi-automatic rifle, the Journal found. The report also detailed how Facebook’s algorithm continued to suggest “sticker” listings, which were actually advertising guns, after users clicked on the deceitful ads, and that a user said the company did not take the listings down even after he flagged them to the company.

The report comes after several prominent lawmakers, including Sen. Cory Booker, Vice-Presidential candidate Kamala Harris, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar called on Facebook to stop sales of guns. Last year, the Journal reported that gun owners were listing empty gun cases online, then offering the actual firearm to prospective buyers.

Since Facebook unveiled its marketplace feature back in 2016, the service has struggled to keep illicit goods off of the platform. Within days of the platforms launch, listings for drugs, animals, and adult services popped up. And in 2018, Business Insider found that fake designer goods, ranging from Tiffany bracelets to Gucci handbags, were commonplace.

“We take action against anyone we catch trying to sell guns on our platform,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “We’ve removed listings that were flagged and will continue to investigate.”

Read the full report at The Wall Street Journal.

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