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Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots

The Hill logo The Hill 1/17/2021 Jordan Williams
graphical user interface, text: Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots © getty Facebook temporarily bans ads for weapons accessories following Capitol riots

Facebook is temporarily banning advertisements for weapons accessories and protective gear amid the fallout from the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol and days before President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

The platform said in a blog post that the ban will be in place at least two days after the inauguration, on Jan. 22, "out of an abundance of caution."

"We already prohibit ads for weapons, ammunition and weapon enhancements like silencers," the company wrote. "But we will now also prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the US."

Facebook declined to comment to The Hill on the exact reasoning behind the ban.

The move comes after Buzzfeed News reported last week that Facebook platform had been running ads for military equipment next to content promoting election misinformation and news about the Capitol riots.

In addition, three senators and four attorneys general this week wrote letters to Facebook to demand that it permanently halt the advertisement of military goods and tactical gear, according to the outlet.


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"Facebook must hold itself accountable for how domestic enemies of the United States have used the company's products and platform to further their own illicit aims," Democratic Sens. Tammy Duckworth (Ill.) Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Sherrod Brown (Ohio) wrote.

"Whether through negligence or with full knowledge, Facebook is placing profit ahead of our Nation's democracy."

The social media company told Reuters that all the pages identified were removed, and that it was working with intelligence and law enforcement.

The change is the latest in a series of actions taken to curb content that could incite violence after the attack at the U.S. Capitol that resulted in five deaths and dozens of arrests.

Last Monday, the company announced that it was taking down content on its platform that contains the phrase "Stop the Steal," and on Friday it blocked the creation of new Facebook events happening in "close proximity" to the White House, U.S. Capitol building and any state Capitol buildings.

The company has also suspended President Trump's pages until at least Inauguration Day.

The FBI has issued a bulletin warning of armed protests at the U.S. Capitol and across all 50 state capitols leading up to the inauguration, and has warned police chiefs nationwide to be on "high alert."

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