Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Lifestyles

March 9, 2014

A different side of Facebook

ATHENS — On Wednesday of last week, Facebook agreed to delete posts from users seeking to buy or sell weapons illegally or without a background check. The policy will take effect over the next few weeks. The same rule will be applied to Instagram, the company’s photo-sharing network. Other sites like Craigslist already prohibit the sale of guns.

According to a story from the Associated Press, “The move reflects growing alarm that the Internet is being used to sell banned weapons, evade restrictions on interstate sales, and put guns in the hands of convicted felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill or others barred under federal law from obtaining firearms.”

I agree with that. I don’t want convicted felons able to buy a gun on my favorite social media site. Illegal guns sales or sales without a background check don’t belong on Facebook. However, social media sites should never restrict First Amendment rights. Gun owners and organizations should also be able to use Facebook to speak in favor of Second Amendment rights. The new policy should not expand, nor should it cross the line and become a mean of gun control. It is another debate between gun control advocates and gun owners with a social media twist.

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A few days ago, I spotted something rather unusual on Facebook. Someone in our local area was selling a pretty vase, or so it appeared until closer inspection. It was drug paraphernalia. The seller has even left evidence of the drug on the “pretty vase.”

It was listed in a Facebook yard sale group for the Princeton and Bluefield area. You never know what you are going to find on Facebook anymore. I sold my first house on Facebook to a long-time friend. A few weeks ago, I bought a set of Tinkerbell curtains from a high school classmate for my stepdaughter’s room. All my transactions have been with friends, not strangers. Facebook has given us a way to save money, find certain items and reconnect in a different way.  In light of Wednesday’s news, one has to wonder if other policies are in the making — ones that ban yard sale groups and more from social media sites like Facebook.

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