Facebook is the ever-changing platform that many love to hate. From changes in layout to their push advertisements, the social media platform allows us our own customization, while at the same time, peeking into our privacy.

Recently, Facebook has begun to take in consideration its younger audience when they tightened policies to prevent illegal gun sales.

A new policy has been released to put age restrictions on Facebook and Instagram posts and pages for guns, alcohol and other adult-oriented items. The idea is to prevent people from selling guns to one another over Facebook; for instance, a person can’t advertise on a gun page that the sale requires “no background check.” Specifically, Facebook is also aiming to ensure these sales don’t go to children.

The age restrictions and efforts to prevent illegal public transactions makes sense. In fact, I find it questionable that people were able to make such sales so blatantly in the public eye in the first place.

Erin D’Aleo / Graphics Editor

Erin D’Aleo / Graphics Editor

If a person is going to break the law, it only makes sense not to do it in a public post. This policy at least prevents young gun enthusiasts from seeing such posts on their respective pages.

Obviously, there are loopholes to Facebook’s current policy; for instance, not everyone specifies an actual birth date, and just because a person doesn’t advertise publicly about gun control laws does not mean they won’t mention such privately.

But, I think Facebook has taken a good step towards the general goal, which is to prevent illegal gun transactions and sales to minors.

Representatives of Facebook have also acknowledged their current predicament, noting that they want to allow people to express their interests, but also need to be able to look into illegal sales that may be taking place.

The perhaps unfortunate reality is that Facebook’s audience is going to include children — I say this with recollections of my own preteen Myspace days, and the acknowledgement that I was on Facebook as a freshman in high school. Today, I’m sure that audience has extended to even younger ages. Nothing as popular as Facebook can go without a younger audience wanting to join to be like “the big kids.” Facebook, which has changed a lot over the years to adapt for its primarily adult audience, may consequently have to reconsider many of its current policies and mechanisms for the safety of its young users.

So overall, I think the recent effort being made is logical. It acknowledges its younger audience and how to keep society safe by reducing illegal sales. It is positive that Facebook is taking responsibility for its own platform.

However, with this younger audience and change of policies comes the question of what direction Facebook is heading into.

A mixing of generations might raise many more questions about what is appropriate and what is not for an audience wanting to express its identity while protecting its youth. This is an issue Myspace faced. We all know what happened to Myspace.

Regardless of policies and audience, it’s important to remember one thing that has stayed true, even before Facebook came into existence: everything you post, no matter how and where, is going to be seen by someone outside of your intended receiver.


Anthony Munoz can be contacted at amunoz@keene-equinox.com

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