Facebook to Use Image Recognition Software to Crackdown on Gun Sellers?

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Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.  What's he up to these day?  Has he had a change of heart on his millions of pro-2A users?

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook. What’s he up to these days? Has he had a change of heart on his millions of pro-2A users?

Facebook. The social network. A hotbed for gun buying and selling. Still.

That’s correct, even with all sorts of high tech ways to monitor its users, Facebook is still a preferred platform for many gun owners to transfer, buy, sell and trade firearms. I’m sure you’re wondering, How can that be? Didn’t Facebook ban private person-to-person sales earlier this year?

Yes, it did. And anti-gunners gleefully celebrated the decision, suggesting that it was a major victory for the gun-control movement.

“Moms are grateful for Facebook’s leadership today in announcing that they will end all unlicensed gun sales arranged on their platforms,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, following the February announcement.

“Two years ago, our campaign to get Facebook to change how their platforms host firearm sales resulted in nine new policies to curb children’s exposure to guns and to clarify state laws around selling and buying guns online,” continued Watts.

“Our continued relationship with Facebook resulted in today’s even stronger stance, which will prevent dangerous people from getting guns and save American lives,” said Watts.

But, what we’re seeing now is that although Facebook banned gun sales in principle, in practice it’s virtually done nothing to enforce the new rule. Well, that’s not entirely true. It relies on “community policing” to enforce the ban. What does that mean? It means it’s relying on users to report posts that have guns for sale in them.

“We rely on reports from our community of 1.5 billion people to help us enforce our community standards which prohibit any attempts by unauthorized dealers to purchase, sell, or trade firearms on our site,” said a Facebook spokesperson to Forbes. “Any piece of content on Facebook ­including posts, photos, videos, and messages ­can be reported. When something is reported to us, our team investigates and removes any content that violates our terms.”

Community policing might work in a general forum, where all users have access to the boards. But most of the buying and selling on Facebook takes place in private groups, which are off limits to non-members.

So, for the ban to really take hold, Facebook is depending on like-minded shooters, hobbyists and collectors to report one another for doing what they joined these private groups to do in the first place: buy, sell, trade guns. It’s like asking the kids to run the classroom.  Yeah, that’s not going to happen — and it isn’t happening.

What’s interesting is that Facebook has the technological capability — via image recognition software — to shut down private sales. It’s just choosing not to do it, as one computer hacker noted.

“Who wants to wade into the middle of the gun debate? Nobody, especially right now,” Justin Seitz told Forbes. “I just wish Facebook would tell the truth. Don’t say you don’t have the capability, or the resources, because that’s bullshit. Just say you don’t want to be involved in the debate.”

To prove his point, Seitz showed just how easy it is to use image recognition to find gun-related posts on another popular, social media platform: Twitter. In just a few hours, with the help of an open-source software produced by Imagga, Seitz was able to target posts with photos and keywords indicating that a firearm was present. He had an accuracy rate of about 90 percent, meaning 90 out of 100 posts contained a gun.

“If they (Imagga) actually tuned this to detect guns, they would be very, very good at it,” noted Seitz. “They could build one that’s even more accurate.”

Bottom line, if Facebook really wanted to end private person-to-person sales, it could. Very easily. It certainly has the money, the manpower and the technology to get the job done. As Seitz, a Canadian resident said, “If a hacker from Saskatchewan, Canada can do it with a budget of zero dollars, I’m pretty sure Facebook, with all its resources, could probably put an end to this.”

So why isn’t Facebook living up to its promise to Everytown? Why hasn’t it cracked down on private transfers? Is Facebook secretly pro-gun? Is it a money thing? Does it not want to lose the patronage of the millions of gun owners who use Facebook?  Is it a political thing?

I don’t have the answers to those question. But what I do know from my personal experience dealing with Facebook is that it has recently softened its stance on the promotion of gun-related ads.

In the past, when we tried to pay money to boost a post (pay a small sum of money to reach more readers), Facebook would reject the post, citing its policy on the promotion of weapons. Here is an example of a past rejection:

Facebook rejected our ads multiple times in the past.  But now they're approving them.  What gives?

Facebook rejected our ads multiple times in the past. But now they’re approving them. What gives?

However, just this week I submitted a request to boost our post on our Thompson Giveaway (check it out, it’s an epic giveaway!) and it was randomly approved. The giveaway we ran before that, the Hoffner Knives, was also approved. Again, months ago, Facebook would never have allowed this. But now it is. What gives? What’s changed?

Facebook approved this ad for us this week.  No lie.  Now how is this not "promoting firearms"?  It clearly is.

Facebook approved this ad for us this week. It accepted our money.  No lie. Now how is this not “promoting firearms”? It clearly is.

If I didn’t know any better, it looks like Facebook is trying to squeeze out every dime it can from its users, corporate and otherwise. I’ll go on the record and say, I don’t like Facebook. It’s gotten too big, too powerful and too intrusive. It literally knows too much about its users. In fact, I bet it knows exactly who owns guns and who doesn’t, who is pro-2A and who is not, who is buying and selling guns and who isn’t.

How long will Facebook keep this laissez-faire attitude with respect to gun owners is anyone’s guess. But eventually, one has to believe that the hammer will drop and those law-abiding buyers and sellers, those hobbyists and collectors who use the platform for transfers will be left out in the cold. My advice. Get out now. Join a community that is unabashedly and unapologetically pro-gun. Join a community where you can safely sell guns to fellow patriots without the corporate monitoring and hassle of being outed for violating a stupid, anti 2A policy. If only I could think of one… Oh yeah, check out this website, I heard it’s pretty awesome.

{ 55 comments… add one }
  • Doug Roy April 17, 2016, 8:22 pm

    I, say to hell with facebook. As I buy ,sell and trade on another web site and no I am not a FFL dealer and I love my guns. And these people who hate guns you can call 911 and I will take care of the problem then call 911 oh and I love living in a great gun state such as Georgia.

  • Christopher Williams April 17, 2016, 5:43 pm

    Oiling the machines and stoking the fires for the leftist gestapo that believes they are doing good by narcing on their neighbors. Maybe they will get an extra slice of bread for turning someone in for doing they deem as bad. Little do they know it’s only a matter of time till the machine turns on them.

  • Evan April 17, 2016, 2:57 pm

    I hate Facebook. I am not, nor have I ever been, a Facebook user. Yet I got an email from them saying that I might know some people, including a Marine Corps friend of mine who I hadn’t talked to in years, a college friend of mine I hadn’t talked to in years, and a different Marine Corps friend’s ex-wife, who I never could stand. I don’t have any of these people’s phone numbers or email addresses. The fact that they correctly guessed that I’d know these specific people, given that I do not use their website, is pretty creepy. It means they know where and when I served in the Corps and where and when I went to college just off the bat, and even who some of my friends were in both of those places.

    • Bob Bacon May 9, 2017, 12:56 am

      Fakebook is known to collect users’ email contact lists. I bet it also buys email lists from colleges and other orgs, even if the info is stolen.

  • Gingerbaker April 16, 2016, 6:53 am

    “So, for the ban to really take hold, Facebook is depending on like-minded shooters, hobbyists and collectors to report one another for doing what they joined these private groups to do in the first place: buy, sell, trade guns. It’s like asking the kids to run the classroom. Yeah, that’s not going to happen — and it isn’t happening.”

    You want to know why people don’t like guns and hate gun nuts? This is why. YOU are the problem.

    Because you don’t give a shit about anything or anybody if it means you can’t do anything and everything you want to do when it concerns your guns. Even if that means refusing to follow the rules of someone else’s (not yours) website. Because you are acting like an asshole.

    Be honest. When was the last time you thought – or wrote online – you should compromise on any issue having to do with gun ownership and the 2nd Amendment? Thought so.

    • Bob Bacon May 9, 2017, 12:58 am

      You are the problem and the asshole. But if it makes you feel better, I quit Faceberg and sell whatever I want.

  • Aaronosaurus April 16, 2016, 12:36 am

    Why do we feed into this crap?
    Nobody “buys” or “sells” guns through facebook, or ebay……… You don’t post a gun for sale online, and send it to whoever has a paypal acount.
    They negotiate a legal transfer that takes place offline. Either through an ffl dealer, or a face to face meeting. When we allow the media to dictate the perception of shady underworld dealings, or selling to disturbed youth, we allow them to vilify our Constitutional recognized God given rights.
    We need to stand up to the garbage being heaped upon us to make us all appear to be halfwit thugs.

  • Ronald Ross April 15, 2016, 6:26 pm

    With the popularity of Facebook, and their position on guns and gun ownership, why doesn’t some one else start a group of similar nature, who is strong on gun ownership by those who may legally own them? I am sure that the members of the many groups that I am personally involved with, would drop Facebook and go with it, due to many being hunters, hunting guides, Ranchers, saddle makers, and makers of leather items for gun owners. Many are those who have made their living by being law enforcement persons for whom the gun was a tool to their employment.
    If such would happen, and Facebook would start losing big bucks, then, perhaps the owner would ‘smarten up’ and forget his anti-gun views. Yet, those in high places then to rely upon someone(s) who carry guns and know how to shoot them, are protecting them for harms way. They just do not advertise that is what they do, for it would be good for business from those who think that guns (by them selves ) kill people. I have yet to see a gun, by itself, select a target, aim at that target, and then operate its trigger to fire the round that is in the chamber. It takes two to make a gun do what it is intended to do, shoot at a target. It is just a tool, that a human must be handling. Sadly, some of those who handle guns do so as an act of a crime.

  • Mahatma Muhjesbude April 15, 2016, 4:03 pm

    Greg here hit the nail dead on. Facebook is a front and subsidiary of the NSA just like Anonymous (the real original, not the knock-offs)is, and just like the Bitcoin invention is also a government ‘social experiment’ blithely accepted by the masses of dumb asses.
    Each has its own niche specialty. The social medias front for general individual privacy intrusion profiles for data bases. The CIA thought the likes of Twitter and Facebook were a gift from God in terms of making their jobs easier with all the free volunteer personal info being ‘donated’ for future reference!

    Anonymous pretends its anti-G so that it can hook up with actual anti-g hackers. And Bitcoin is an affiliate experiment for a (near) future switch to a ‘cashless’ society that is currently being implemented right under our bloodied noses by FED Reserve Bank cartels (you don’t Really think the G bailed them out for the good of the economomy hahahahhaha! Do you?) So that as soon as it is needed to ‘undermine’ the unpayable National Dept, it will be swiftly and irrisistably implemented by banks beholden to the G. And cash as we once knew it and had stashed in our little back yard pvc tubes, will be still good for ass wipe. Because it will be illegal to use for anything after that, and, of course, your little gold and silver stash will also be ‘gone girl’, as it falls back to the 1930’s mode of ALSO becoming conveniently a criminal offense to own more than the gold ring in your nose by which they’ll ‘keep you in tow’.

    Totalitarian digital currency offset will make it Sooooooo easy to track the amount of ALL your money and of course,
    ALL of ‘Everything’ you purchase!

    All of these un-Constitutional social engineering mechanisms, however, conspire together in synergistic application for one main purpose. To catalogue and locate firearms owners and identify their armaments to facilitate priorities and profiles for imminent confiscations pending specifically facilitating complimentary new gun laws, also currently creeping into play, for some anti-2/A ‘shock and awe’ when Hillary gets in.

    Also, some breaking news that Mr. S.H.B. missed is that the latest Facebook SPY tech is a newer better face recognition system that associates any gun buyers/registered (form4473) owners with their National I.D. Card drivers licenses ( 2005real I.D. card law) to any and every picture ever posted on Facebook (or probably anywhere else on the web for that matter-which, as somebody mentioned here above already, would mean they would even be able to raid your cell phone and computer photo memories. Patch in all the public and private video cameras everywhere and unless you don’t get out much, like as in you make a hermit look like a traveling salesperson. ‘They’ will know who has most of the potential anti-G ‘revolutionary’ anti-Tyranny firepower, and where they are at almost any given moment. Thank you, Anti-4th/A Zuckerberg. You fucking traitor.

    Doesn’t anybody think yet that it’s way past the midnight hour deadline to start CHANGING the gun laws to pre-1900 days!?

    • Charlie BROWN April 17, 2016, 9:17 pm

      Zuck, told his buddy from the start on twitter, Hey dude all of these people will tell me everything about themselves. And his buddy replied, WHY?!?! And the now billionaire said, “Just a bunch of dumb fu%$$, I guess”. True story and now we have Face book.When you think about the internet, it really is the first true anti 5th amendment tool.

  • Scott Beverly April 15, 2016, 2:40 pm

    When I realized facebook was aligning themselves with anti American views and anti constitutional ideology I deleted my account. Sure facebook is fun and an alternate way to stay in touch with family and friends, however it comes with a price I refuse to pay.

    • Bob Bacon May 9, 2017, 1:03 am

      The fuckerberg is still probably ghosting your acct. to data mine your friends and spam people with porn.

  • Biggest Hatt April 15, 2016, 2:31 pm

    Yet another reason to dump Facebook. Not that the obnoxious attitude of it’s frat boy founder isn’t reason enough.

    • David Keith April 15, 2016, 10:19 pm

      Exactly

    • David Keith April 15, 2016, 10:27 pm

      Exactly

  • Glennon April 15, 2016, 2:28 pm

    This is the same guy who jumped up after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino in support of the damn muslims. I think this guy has no idea what will happen to people like him if the muslims take over or they get their hands on him and his family. They will be on the screen losing body parts.

  • robert jensen April 15, 2016, 2:15 pm

    IMHO, Facebook is darn lucky that anyone uses their website for ANYTHING.
    They should thank God they are even still in business, because it won’t be long before people abandon them.

  • Fern April 15, 2016, 1:40 pm

    Here’s a summation of facebook: I mistakenly put the app on my phone; it was the only way to contact my daughter. Imagine my surprise when I saw all the pictures on my phone running like a slide show underneath my name. Hello–they have access to everything on your phone. When you look at what you are agreeing to when you use that app it is apparent that if they so wanted, facebook could track your every movement through the gps on your phone. If you follow the thinking that the government is in bed with facebook–and you sell firearms–they also know where you are at any given moment. I don’t try and sell anything on that forum. I don’t post pictures. I think it is foolish to give anyone that kind of knowledge of my personal life. There are forums devoted to the sale of firearms if you want to do that. I work for a Federal Firearms Dealer and I know how this goes. Doing these kind of deals to avoid the transfers on a social network leaves you open to a world of CRAP. I’ve had the ATF call about a transfer we did 25 years ago–they can trace guns that way and eventually they will find out where that gun ended up. If you are the last person on a NICS form, and that gun was used in a crime, you better have your ass covered with a bill of sale. My personal feeling is that there is too much government regulation which will someday evolve into policies that will destroy our freedoms on every level.

  • Sam Thompson April 15, 2016, 1:33 pm

    here a new group to do just what you are asking for. Social media, guns sales, classifieds, and auctions. Its new and likely will grow very quickly, thank you Facebook.

  • JJ Murray April 15, 2016, 1:09 pm

    I don’t use Facebook, I’m on a site called MeWe. No Censorship! https://mewe.com/i/jj.murray

  • Lea Ann April 15, 2016, 12:28 pm

    We have tried MANY times to boost posts on Facebook of events we are having from archery promotions to open houses to hunter safety classes. ALL have been denied by Facebook. We are a very rural area. It is very frustrating to us. We are a legal brick and mortar store and it is very upsetting that legal businesses can not promote activities.

  • Greg April 15, 2016, 12:25 pm

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Yuckerberg wasn’t approached by the feds and asked to look the other way regarding gun activity on fb. That way they can accumulate that much more info on gun owners and others they want to round uo in the not to distant future.

  • Sanity April 15, 2016, 11:11 am

    This line from the article shows how simple it should be.
    “like-minded shooters, hobbyists and collectors to report one another for doing what they joined these private groups to do in the first place: buy, sell, trade guns.”
    No reason to report something that is completely legal in your state!
    These aren’t kids running the classroom. They are adults who have been allowed to join a private group.
    Any organization that would try to stop them from legal activity among themselves is not logical, just simply anti-gun as we all know and they don’t care about laws.
    Every sale they can prevent or owner purchaser they can inconvenience…. they feel good about.
    Facebook should have never caved to anti gun groups. Just like eBay did from its inception. They limited mags to 10 rnds when only a couple if states had the law after the 2004 awb expiration.
    Facebook should have said they discourage all illegal activity but legal trades and sales between owners in states with standard private sales laws are fine.

    • romney dickinson April 15, 2016, 11:50 am

      I just shake my head over and over. Why do we who are considered evil by these FB freaks continue to use FB? Just find another way. Contact companies that use FB and tell them you will buy from companies that do NOT use FB in any manner. Hell, try the phone, fax, letter, anything but a socialist enemy promoter of PC and anti-American traditions.

    • Eric Mello April 15, 2016, 2:06 pm

      I had an account on facebook back in 2009 and I haven’t had an account on there since because of nonsense like this. I have other ways of keeping in touch with friends and relatives I’ve been using long before facecunt came around and it works swell.

  • Matthew Horne April 15, 2016, 11:05 am

    Facebook goes out of its way to try and limit children’s exposure to firearms, but has zero problem with the video showing the process of how giant anatomically correct dildos are made. I wish they would get there priorities straight.

  • Chris Becker April 15, 2016, 10:57 am

    My local gun buy/sell/trade has been yanked a couple times already and the last time seems pretty permanent. The North Idaho one was also permanently shut down by Facebook so there is enforcement taking place from where I stand.

  • Abby Normal April 15, 2016, 10:34 am

    I had no idea you could sell guns on Facecrack nor that Suckabug was trying to do something about it. Facebook is an identity thief haven so I never go there – it’s just unsafe. People need to socialize face to face and not from their mom”s basement. Once you put your life on the Internet then you become a target for crime. It’s not rocket science – much like craigslist for dating.

  • Shah Muhammad II of Khwarazmia (1200-1220AD) April 15, 2016, 10:28 am

    I absolutely hate anything that starts out with Moms Against… (Why are there no “Moms for… groups? Why are all moms’ groups so negative? Are they unable to think of anything positive?)

    “Moms against…” groups blatantly try to pimp their status as “Moms” (i.e.; one of the billions of women who have managed to reproduce) in order to try to justify taking away the rights of law-abiding citizens. They are willing to stand on the dead bodies of children who die in a way objectionable to them, in order to advance their political agendas. They are pimps.

    Are far as FaceBook is concerned. When they stop making money off the ads, etc that private treaty sales of firearms on FB generates, then they might stop the ads. Probably not though, as if they aren’t making money why waste your time taking them down? Besides, the last thing Zuckerberg wants to do is shoot the goose that laid the golden egg or become a police person.

  • JDD April 15, 2016, 10:23 am

    Do yourself a favor and get off of all social media. Facebook, Twitter, all of them are in bed with the government and is full of trouble makers and scammers.

  • Lee April 15, 2016, 10:14 am

    Before there was Facebook there was myspace… Then Facebook went from College students only to public and took off…. Now its nothing more than a massive database where idiots voluntarily input personal information that is used for marketing data and research…

    Simple point is, without idiots, Facebook wouldn’t be around… Don’t like it, get off Facebook. There are gun friendly social networks that aren’t mass marketing tools such as Gundistrict…

  • David Keith April 15, 2016, 10:09 am

    I fully agree with the above posts about leaving facebook the hell alone. Shooters got along without it forever. There’s no need to be a party of sissy little part of the internet that’s a total load of crap. Just be done with it. Someone should start one called Guns and Weapons of Destruction Book. We can use that. Call it whatever the hell we want.

  • Ram6 April 15, 2016, 9:54 am

    You are alll missing the point. Facebook is not relenting. They are gathering data on gun owners to forward on to every gun grabber organization in America and the federal government. So post a sale or purchase of a firearm at your peril. Because you will then be entered in their national data base of firearm owners and that info will be shuffled off to very liberal organization on the planet upon request, and of course a small fee.

  • Ryan April 15, 2016, 9:53 am

    The sample post with the AR15 in it is a poor example because the guy is not trying to sell it, he is trying to trade it. BIG difference between selling and trading.

  • snugs April 15, 2016, 9:52 am

    Imagine had the commies first had access to this so called information technolgy?
    And now in 2016 there is a marxist and a commie vying to be president, how far we have fallen!

  • alex April 15, 2016, 9:00 am

    i don’t belong to facebook. i do bet that they have a system up and running but aren’t using it,the’re waiting for the people to start ratting each other out,that way they don’t take heat for it,they’ll blame the trouble on the users.

    • Rick McMillan April 15, 2016, 11:07 am

      They already have this software and use it. They just use it for porn though. And it’s not fail proof either! I had a pic of a sunset labeled as nudity on there.

      • Greg April 15, 2016, 4:44 pm

        Better than nudity labeled a sunset.

  • Reid April 15, 2016, 8:17 am

    From someone who just sold a handgun on Facebook (with delivery at a FFL store) I agree. It is worth noting, though, that left-leaning F Book is collecting mountains of data on gun owners. Be careful what you post!

  • John S April 15, 2016, 8:11 am

    Facebook MAY have taken your money to post your ad for the Thompson giveaway, but when I click on the link to go to that Facebook page, I get a notice that says that page is not available. Maybe they took your money, but are blocking you anyway.

  • jerry wilson April 15, 2016, 8:08 am

    Facebook is for faggots

    • Michael Trone April 15, 2016, 9:58 am

      …said the inbred hick…

    • Greg April 15, 2016, 4:49 pm

      Well, ya’ know, I’m neither a fan of facebook nor gays, but that’s just about the most ridiculous statement I have read!

  • Jay Simkin April 15, 2016, 8:04 am

    Facebook encourages those – who do not understand that things posted live forever – to put into the public domain, that which should not be exposed, e.g., photos/videos; reports on one’s interests/activities; schedules; relationships; vehicles; etc.
    It is simply wrong to encourage such exposure, and even worse to profit by it. No one should have anything to do with Facebook. It is as simple as that. Or, to sum it up: “Just say NO to Facebook”.

  • John April 15, 2016, 8:01 am

    With all of the truly criminal activities that are occurring on Facebook, i.e. porn, pedophilia, drug deals and prostitution, it seems ludicrous to be worrying about legal gun sales.

    • Alan April 15, 2016, 9:21 am

      Now, now! Don’t you go using logic here, that’s NOT what Facebook is for!! 🙂

  • BigC April 15, 2016, 7:05 am

    I don’t understand why people use Facebook……..not only do you give-up a lot of your privacy and make yourself prone to identity theft but perhaps worst of all, you make that vile, left-wing POS, Suckerberg rich!!!!

  • Brian Messenheimer April 15, 2016, 6:27 am

    Why would you print an article like this? I’d expect something like this from the anti-gun lobby. Not only is it a confrontational article challenging Facebook to do more, but you’re actually showing the general public HOW they should and could do it. The term with ‘friends like these, I don’t need enemies’ comes to mind’.

  • Robert Burns April 15, 2016, 6:03 am

    Do you really believe that Mark Zuckerburg runs Facebook? What’s a better way to censor the public than taking over the largest social media on the website? Think about it.

  • Uncle Elmer April 15, 2016, 5:05 am

    Screw those sodomite peter suckers.

  • Just1Spark April 15, 2016, 5:01 am

    My local county, has a ‘Yard Sale’ facebook page. And theres been the same guns forsale on it since before the big facebook gunban. lol Makes be proud. Means no one has reported it.

  • Dustin A Eward April 15, 2016, 2:47 am

    Grown-ups don’t use facebook anyway. The more socialist and anti-human-rights these social media platforms become, the more of an echo chamber they become as sane people leave…

  • Paul Esbrandt April 15, 2016, 2:41 am

    I will stop using Facebook for anything, the liberal assholes are in control there too—–it seems. It ‘s stance leads me to believe they are untrustworthy and not supporters of our constitution.

    • Warren April 15, 2016, 7:56 am

      Hey Paul, your absolutely right, the Libs want to change the constitution. They are truly non American. Facebook is nothing more than dirty laundry. they should listen to everyone not just the liberal propaganda. Thanks Obama for being the hottest gun seller since Dirty Harry. Damn politicians. If you want to stay in contact with ur friends on Facebook , use their messenger, that way u don’t have to listen or wade through the bullshit on the full site.

      • Rouge1 April 15, 2016, 10:01 am

        Facebook is a clandestine government organization designed to have you give information that the government can’t ask you for legally until the illegal nsa spying program. Go Evil empire.

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