The social network currently bans advertisements for the sale of weapons and modifications, like magazines. But Facebook took an additional step of adding an age requirement for ads selling things like holsters, belt accessories or mounted flashlights, CNET reported.
For example, advertisements for gun cases, slings and gun paint are allowed, but only with the new age restriction. But those for firearms, ammunition, paintball guns or BB guns are not allowed, it said. The new policy is set to go into effect June 21, it said.
The announcement comes as the US has been embroiled in a nationwide debate over gun reform. Mass shootings, including school attacks in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas, have intensified the discussion.
Facebook is not the only Silicon Valley company that’s waded into the gun debate by restricting the content on its platforms. In March, YouTube, owned by Google, said it will ban videos that promote or link to websites that sell firearms and accessories. The company had already banned videos that attempted to sell firearms. Facebook’s advertising and data collection policies have more broadly been under scrutiny as the company deals with the toughest crises in its 14-year history.
In March, the social network was criticised for a scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, the British political consulting firm, which improperly accessed personal information on up to 87 million Facebook users.
Facebook’s updated advertisements policy could ruffle conservatives and Second Amendment advocates. Some conservatives are already suspicious of Facebook, accusing the social network of liberal bias and suppression of conservative voices.
On Friday, Facebook updated its advertising policy page with examples of what kinds of firearm ads are and are not allowed on the platform. Facebook said that in the weeks ahead it will work with businesses and organisations that may be affected by the new age restriction policy.