Facebook Suspending Gun Dealers Who Follow Their Rules

Breaking My Silence On The FEC Facebook Complaint. iStock-1186520428
Facebook Suspending Gun Dealers Who Follow Their Rules. iStock-1186520428

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- Facebook has never been friendly to gun owners. Most have done a stretch or two in Facebook jail for one ridiculous reason or another, or had their posts secretly shadow-banned so no one could see them, or had them straight-up disappear the instant they’re posted.

Surprisingly, federally licensed firearm dealers have had more freedom on the social media giant, at least in theory. Long before the Biden-Harris administration declared war on gun dealers, Facebook gave them more latitude than regular folks without an FFL.

According to Facebook’s terms of service, users were prohibited from posting “attempts to buy, sell, or trade, firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, explosives, or lethal enhancements except when posted by a Page, Group or Instagram profile representing legitimate brick-and-mortar entities, including retail businesses, websites, brands or government agencies (e.g. police department, fire department) or a private individual sharing content on behalf of legitimate brick-and-mortar entities.”

In other words, if you had a “legitimate brick-and-mortar” gun shop or sold firearms online, you were good to go. Licensed dealers could post guns, gun parts, ammo and accessories along with their prices.

Now, all of that has changed.

Corey Schnagl, owner of The Cliffs Sporting Goods in Bolivar, Missouri, said Facebook’s harassment has been nonstop.

“Even though I follow their rules for a licensed gun shop, Facebook still blocks my stuff,” Schnagl said. “I’ve been blocked from posting for seven days. For 30 days I couldn’t invite people to my page, and all my posts in groups are knocked to the bottom so no one sees them.”

In addition, members of Schnagl’s group cannot invite their friends to like his page, and there have been other restrictions. Posts containing gun photos, which used to be seen by thousands of people, now might reach hundreds, if he’s lucky.

“I only have 140 followers because they can’t share it anywhere,” he said. “No one is reporting my posts. It’s Facebook ‘catching’ me, but I’m following their terms of service and doing nothing wrong.”

Schnagl is a member of a private group comprised of other FFLs, where Facebook’s harassment is a constant topic of discussion. He estimates he is losing thousands of dollars each month.

“Facebook is strangling my business,” he said.

Inconsistency

Bob Croumlich’s Wild West Guns and Ammo is located on a dirt road in rural Michigan.

“The biggest thing from my perspective that I find frustrating – and I can work around their rules or whatever regulations they want – is that they’re not enforcing the rules as they appear in writing,” Courmlich said. “They pick and choose and change the rules. They are extremely inconsistent.”

Croumlich said he will post a picture of a firearm, and the post will receive good interaction. Just a day or two later, a similar post will earn him a seven-day ban.

“I don’t know what I’m allowed to post and not post,” he said. “There’s no real appeal. I’ll try and all I get is an automated response saying Facebook investigated and determined they acted properly.”

Croumlich and every other dealer interviewed for this story, suspects there are other reasons for Facebook’s recent increase in harassment.

“I see today that Zuckerberg admitted to censoring information at the request of the government,” Courmlich said. “I think it’s certainly possible he might be doing this on his own or at the request of the administration. Facebook is left leaning. I definitely think there is bias there.”

Pushback

“It’s straight-up censorship,” said Lane Elkins, owner of CheapGunClub.Com in Sarasota, Florida.

When he experienced harassment similar to Schnagl’s, Elkins contacted Facebook’s oversight board, which supposedly conducts an independent review outside of Facebook.

“I am a federally licensed firearm dealer (FFL) advertising my products on Facebook. I am not selling the products or the service, just promoting them to be sold in person or online,” he wrote.

The oversight board took no action, and the harassment continues.

He posted a picture of ammunition Friday without mentioning its price, and the post quickly disappeared.

A previous post cost Elkins a 30-day suspension, even though it did not violate Facebook’s terms of service for a licensed gun dealer.

Like, Schnagl and Croumlich, Elkins estimates Facebook is costing him thousands of dollars each month.

“Facebook is definitely important for any business that wants a good social media presence,” Elkins said. “I don’t get a ton of business from Facebook but having that social media presence is extremely important.”

The dealers understand that when Facebook began it was a private company with its own rules and terms of service. Today, Facebook has nearly 3 billion members.

“It’s much bigger now – like a public utility,” Elkins said. “It needs to be treated as such. It needs more scrutiny.”

This story is presented by the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and wouldn’t be possible without you. Please click here to make a tax-deductible donation to support more pro-gun stories like this.


About Lee Williams

Lee Williams, who is also known as “The Gun Writer,” is the chief editor of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project. Until recently, he was also an editor for a daily newspaper in Florida. Before becoming an editor, Lee was an investigative reporter at newspapers in three states and a U.S. Territory. Before becoming a journalist, he worked as a police officer. Before becoming a cop, Lee served in the Army. He’s earned more than a dozen national journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. Lee is an avid tactical shooter.

Lee Williams

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RAS

I’ve been telling the firearms and accessories industries to get the heck off of Facebook continue using it just funds their ability to assault our 1st and 2nd amendments with impunity. Ideally, industry co-operative social platform would allow manufactures, distributors, FFLs and buyers and sellers t exercize their freedoms without fear of being silenced.

Grigori

Exactly! I do not understand gun stores, churches, and other entities that use that crap platform when it is in opposition to their interests so much of the time.

Russn8r

Yep. How many folks here still pay Amazon/Prime/Bezos & Obama/Netflix?

Russn8r

Besides Officer Ope, I mean.

swmft

second that ,why would you help people that are attacking you

Boom

What’s facebook?

Wild Bill

Yes, exactly!

Ope

Who needs it?

Wild Bill

Facebook has been a predatory device since its initial conception. Designed to keep track of the “good looking girls” Zuckerberg and his college roommate morphed FB into a commercial data mining and political influence machine.

PAF145

Pretty sure Zuckerberg and his wife are unregitered agents of Beijing

Wild Bill

Zuck left the US to avoid income taxes. He is a real patriot. To remain and operate out of Shanghai (I believe) they would have to aid the CCP.

swmft

should be taxed at 99% for all the income derived from us

Raconteur

I dropped Facebook when they started their anti-gun, anti-conservative, anti-America treachery. I encourage all of my contacts to do the same. Converse with people? Use email, or try that age old device, the phone.

Terry

Facebook – biggest personal info security breach in history. My kids have been told if I ever hear of my name being on one of their posts, they’re disowned!

Jim

its a money game nobody cares about the commen person