Recent investigations show that in the Bay Area, social media is playing a significant role in firearms sales. To be particular, it’s apparently Snapchat which has been the means for certain guns smuggling.
This news has been brought by The Guardian, on the 21st of August, 2019, and here is more information regarding this arms-social-smuggling.
Guns Being Smuggled & Sold on Snapchat
Snapchat bans ads that promote “firearms, weapons, ammunition, or related accessories”; shouldn’t use for “any illegal activities”; including buying and selling illegal weapons. A spokesperson for Snap said the company doesn’t allow illegal content to be promoted or distributed.
But those rules are a challenge to enforce; users can post whatever they’d like to their account; also it’s up to community members or automated tools to flag the issue. For cases involving legal gun smuggling, the sellers posted repeatedly about multiple weapons, attracting the attention of federal agents.
Other social networks have run into similar issues with illegal weapons sales. Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal wrote about how gun sellers continue to skirt Facebook’s restrictions three years after it implemented a ban in response to illegal sales being negotiated on the platform. Instagram has also faced issues with sellers skirting its advertising ban. Sales made over these apps are often legal when they’re made by private sellers, as The Daily Beast noted in 2017, and that can make the enforcement of anything but a blanket ban; which Snapchat doesn’t have — a challenge.
More Insight –
The Exemplary Guns Smuggling Posts –
One post showed the man walking through a home brandishing a gun with a high-capacity magazine; also tapping an unidentified woman on her buttocks with the barrel. In another, he waved a pistol loaded with a 50-round drum magazine in the air while driving a car.
They’re two of several Snapchat posts by Anthony Reed; a 22-year-old Nevada resident who prosecutors allege used the social media platform to market weapons in California.
Arms traffickers have long used the internet to connect with potential buyers; also there have been growing reports of weapons dealers across the US using platforms like Facebook, Instagram as well as Snapchat to market their guns. Several recent law enforcement investigations show that in California’s Bay Area, social media is playing a significant role in the sale of firearms outlawed in the state.
Basically the men allegedly purchased guns in a state with lax gun laws; brought them into a state with restrictive laws; and used Snapchat to advertise their availability by posting pictures and videos of the guns. They got tracked down by agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, as well as Explosives; also one has signed a plea agreement.