Posted on April 22nd, 2013 by ar15news
Many of you guys are already aware of the recent events surrounding our AR15NEWS.com Facebook Fan Page that we’ve worked hard over the past 2 years to grow into a large family of AR15/firearm loving people. Early in the morning on Friday the 19th of April I received a notification on Facebook stating that there were limits placed on my AR15NEWS.com page and it had been un-published. To make it even worse it said that this page could not be published again. Over the course of the next few hours our shock turned to anger as we saw 3 other pages removed as well. The overall consensus was that this was a massive Anti-2A push by Facebook to take away our 1st and 2nd amendment rights…but was it really?
The news of our the AR15NEWS.com, 556 Tactical, GunSweeps.com and Pittsburgh Tactical Firearms pages being taken down hit the net pretty quick and spread like wildfire. What had actually happened was a “news” agency decided to run a story about people winning guns on FB and contacted FB for comment as to whether or not this was against their policy. Immediately after that, the pages in question were removed. It was amazing to see this community help each other out as if members of their own family were injured. As I mentioned, THIS is exactly what we have all come to expect from the Pro-2A community. We’re all in it together and pick each other up when we’re down.
While everyone (myself included) were busy crying foul, an amazing thing happened. An employee at Facebook with some pull who happens to be a fellow lover of shooting sports and the industry in general contacted me and started working on the behalf of all four pages to help us get our pages back. This was the last thing I expected. Everyone talked about how FB is anti gun, anti free speech, etc. How was this happening? With about 24 hours I received an email from Facebook explaining to me exactly why my page was taken down and what I needed to do to get it back. Unfortunately the other pages did not get as hopeful of an email as I did.
My violations were two fold regarding Facebook’s TOS (Terms of Service). 1. I was not following Facebook’s guidelines when it came to running giveaways on my page. Basically, you can’t force people to use the “Like” button, etc to participate. 2. You aren’t allowed to promote the use/sale of a weapon/firearm/explosive. Our recent giveaway of a complete rifle ran afoul of that rule. I was told that if I removed the offending content and didn’t violate the TOS in the future that I would have no problems and the page would be reinstated. I decided to play it safe and just remove pretty much everything. Sure enough, they stuck to their word and as soon as it was gone I received an email from another very helpful person at Facebook that my page was back up.
So obviously this was not the most enjoyable time in my life and I wished it had never happened but I do feel like it was a very good learning experience. I love to learn from my experiences, own up for my own actions and move on. In life you can choose to see the positive side of things and that’s what I’m focused on. What I learned was this. There wasn’t some Anti-2A conspiracy on the part of Facebook. I understand they they may not be Pro-2A either but if they were completely Anti-2A they wouldn’t have helped me at all. Even though this was a major pain for me and I lost a lot of work, the rational part of me knows the truth. The pages were taken down by people who were just following protocol. They have a set of rules in place that are there to protect them as a company. Do I think they are being a bit over cautious with their rules? Yes! Do I think the rules are bit too vague? Yes! The cool part is that this is something that you will see changed in Facebook’s TOS as a direct result of Friday’s debacle. Very soon we should see a much more defined set of rules regarding Firearms and their acceptable place on Facebook. For the most part my page will function exactly as it did before with one exception. I probably will stay away from Giveaways for a while until I can figure out exactly how to do it under Facebook’s TOS and that for sure means no complete rifle giveaways anymore.
I am very thankful that anyone at FB was willing to help me work through this. There is still a lot of work currently being done behind the scenes to get the other pages reinstated. Some of them may not even know that this is happening. My hope is that we see all 4 pages be reinstated but only time will tell. We’ll continue to keep you guys informed over the next week or so. Just FYI, I am writing this to you out of my own accord. No one at Facebook knows or cares that I’m writing it.
GLAD TO HAVE YOU BACK!!