New Policies Follow Moms' Campaign - 230,000 Supporters Call On Companies to Stop Facilitating Illegal Sales to Minors, Felons and Other Dangerous Prohibited Gun Purchasers



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TO NATIONAL EDITORS:

Moms Demand Action Applauds Major Moves by Facebook, Instagram to

Prevent Illegal Gun Sales on Their Sites

INDIANAPOLIS, March 5, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Facebook

announced today that the company and its popular photo-sharing

subsidiary Instagram will take significant steps to block potentially

illegal firearm sales through their platforms. For the first time,

the sites will delete reported posts offering to buy or sell guns

without background checks - a key indicator that users may be seeking

to avoid the life-saving checks that bar minors, felons, the seriously

mentally ill and other dangerous people from buying guns. The sites

will also block users under the age of 18 from viewing reported

private gun sales posts from individual sellers and any pages used

primarily for private gun offers.

The Facebook announcement follows a month-long campaign by Moms Demand

Action that quickly drew more than 230,000 supporters who urged

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom to

address the growing number of illegal gun sales facilitated by their

networks. Direct discussions took place between officials of Facebook

and Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan national coalition

founded by former Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Thomas Menino. The

moms and mayors' groups merged in December 2013 to form the largest

gun violence prevention organization in the United States. This is

the second corporate victory for Moms Demand Action, which last year

mounted a campaign on Starbucks that resulted in a statement by CEO

Howard Schultz that guns were no longer welcome in his stores.

In response to the announcement, Moms Demand Action founder Shannon

Watts and Mayors Against Illegal Guns chairman John Feinblatt issued

the below statements and will speak on a media conference call today

with Facebook's Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert and

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at 1:00 PM EST to discuss

the policy changes - please email press@maig.org for details on the

call.

Watts: "American moms are gratified that Facebook and Instagram have

agreed to take meaningful steps to prevent illegal gun sales to

children and dangerous people on its platforms.

"Our campaign showed how easy it is for minors, felons and other

dangerous people to get guns online - that's why moms and more than

230,000 Americans signed our petition, tweeted and used social media

to ask Facebook and Instagram to do something about gun sales

facilitated on their networks. We are happy that these companies

listened to American mothers and we believe these changes are a major

step toward making sure people who buy or sell guns on their platforms

know the law, and follow it. Moms are particularly pleased that

Facebook will block minors from seeing posts about gun sales or

trades, and that we can be confident that these social networks will

be safe spaces for our kids.

"There's still so much to be done - by corporations, by Congress, and

by local leaders - to keep guns out of dangerous hands. Moms have

momentum and we're moving the country toward a culture of gun safety

one company, one legislator, one law at a time. We're going to keep

applying pressure to corporations and political leaders until they do

more to reduce the gun violence that plagues our country. We're not

going away, and we will not stop until we've done everything we can to

keep our children and communities safe."

Feinblatt: "Our campaign exposed how simple it is for dangerous people

to get their hands on guns, no questions asked - not only on Facebook

and Instagram - but across the Internet. Unfortunately, the 'private

sale loophole' allows anonymous parties to sell guns without

background checks, and there are simply too many ways for criminals,

minors and other prohibited gun purchasers to get them easily - with

just the click of a mouse. We are grateful that Facebook and

Instagram are making major moves to prevent these sales from happening

via their platforms. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to draw

attention to these critical safety issues and hold corporations and

political leaders accountable to do their part to prevent gun

violence."

Among the significant policy changes Facebook and Instagram have

agreed to implement to prevent easy access to guns on its platforms

are the following:

-- Facebook will block all children (under 18) from viewing reported

posts from individual gun sellers or gun pages where guns are sold or

traded.

-- Facebook will allow users to report posts that may facilitate or

promote potentially illegal gun activity.

-- Facebook will delete reported posts that indicate that the seller

will not conduct a background check or that a buyer is seeking to

avoid a background check.

-- Facebook will delete reported posts that indicate that a seller is

willing to sell across state lines.

-- Facebook will continue to report to law enforcement any gun-related

posts that may pose a threat to public safety.

-- Facebook will require private sellers who are reported for offering

a gun for sale to acknowledge the relevant laws that apply to them -

including that background checks may be required before completing a

sale. These sellers will be blocked by Facebook from continuing to the

site until they acknowledge this policy.

-- All Facebook Pages and groups must prominently state that sellers

and buyers must comply with all applicable laws, including conducting

a background check where required. Facebook will take down reported

pages and groups where guns are sold until the owner of the page

acknowledges this policy and includes this information prominently at

the top of the page. Facebook's Help Center will remind sellers that

they may conduct background checks for safety purposes even where not

legally required.

-- When someone searches on Instagram for a hashtag related to gun

offers (e.g. #guns4sale) they will be required to acknowledge the

relevant laws that apply to them in this area before they see search

results.

-- Facebook will provide public education ad space targeted at users

interested in firearm-related content to ensure they know about the

laws related to gun sales. Moms Demand Action and Mayors Against

Illegal Guns will provide content for these ads.

Facebook and Instagram's policy changes were made in response to a

campaign by Moms Demand Action launched on January 27, which was

joined by partner organization SumOfUs and promoted on Change.org. As

part of the campaign, Moms released a "closer look" video to riff on

Facebook's 10th anniversary "look back" videos to explain how

Facebook's previous policies made it easy for guns to be bought and

sold online without criminal background checks. The video has been

viewed nearly 400,000 times.

Moms also brought to light cases of minors and felons buying guns on

Facebook.

Previous research by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that criminals

are flocking to the internet to buy guns - on one site, one in 30

prospective gun buyers on online had committed crimes that prohibited

them from possessing firearms.

About Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America Much like Mothers

Against Drunk Driving was created to change laws regarding drunk

driving, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was created to

build support for common-sense gun reforms. The nonpartisan grassroots

movement of American mothers is demanding new and stronger solutions

to lax gun laws and loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our

children and families. In just one year, the organization has more

than 140,000 members with a chapter in every state in the country. The

group recently joined forces with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the

largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. For more

information or to get involved visit www.momsdemandaction.org. Follow

us on Facebook www.facebook.com/MomsDemandAction or on Twitter

@MomsDemand.

CONTACT: Erika Soto Lamb, erika@maig.org or 646.580.5281 Stacey

Radnor, sradnor@maig.org or 202.870.6668

SOURCE Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

-0- 03/05/2014

/Web Site: www.momsdemandaction.org

CO: Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

ST: Indiana

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SU: AVO PSF

PRN

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0000 03/05/2014 17:18:00 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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The Associated Press

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