July 3, 2018
Advertising weapon accessories on Facebook is a sensitive topic for some. To ensure the platform remains a safe space for children and teens between the ages 13 and 18, Facebook recently enacted a new age restriction to its advertising policy for weapon accessory ads. Advertisers delivering such ads must now only target audiences 18 and older. The network introduced the new restriction in a Facebook Business article.
“Unlike posts from friends or pages, ads receive paid distribution,” Facebook says in the article. “This means we have an even higher standard for what is allowed and why we have chosen to limit weapons accessories to an adults-only audience.”
To be clear, the promotion of weapons and modifications, including explosives and ammunition, is and will continue to be prohibited. However, Facebook does allow ads for weapon accessories. This updated policy restricts the promotion of such accessories to underage users.
What Are “Weapon Accessories”?
Facebook defines weapon accessories as products that help illuminate, magnify, or focus on a target, such as optics and flashlights. Holsters and belts are also considered weapon accessories.
Weapon Accessory Activity Facebook Allows
- Blogs or groups connecting people with weapon-related interests, as long as the service doesn’t lead to the sale of these products
- Safety courses for firearm training or licenses and books and videos about firearm safety
- Plastic guns, swords, and toy weapons
- Mounted flashlights for firearms (as long as the audience minimum age is set to 18 years old or over)
- Scopes and sights for firearms (as long as ad audience minimum age is set to 18 years old or over)
- Hunting, self-defense, and military clothing and gear such as shooting targets and clay throwers (as long as ad audience minimum age is set to 18 years old or over)
- Holsters and belt accessories (as long as ad audience minimum age is set to 18 years old or over)
- Gun safes, mounts (including bipods), gun cases, and slings (as long as ad audience minimum age is set to 18 years old or over)
- Equipment and protective clothing (including vests) (as long as ad audience minimum age is set to 18 years old or over)
- Paint, coatings, or wraps for weapons and magazines (as long as ad audience minimum age is set to 18 years old or over)
Weapon Accessory Activity Facebook Prohibits
- Firearms, including firearms parts, ammunition, paintball guns, and bb guns
- Firearm silencers or suppressors
- Weapons of any kind, including pepper spray, non-culinary knives/blades/spears, tasers, nunchucks, batons, or weapons intended for self-defense
- Fireworks and explosives
- Ads promoting the brandishing of firearms
Since audiences under 18 years old are not yet allowed to own weapons anyway, delivering ads to them regarding any weapon accessory is both unnecessary and intrusive. Parents already face the challenge of knowing what their children are exposed to on social media. The new age restriction helps relieve some of that burden.