Here’s an ironic twist for you: as someone who publishes content for the largest firearms news blog in the world, there are many days that I wish all social media would simply die in a fiery car crash.The endless bickering, the obsession with minutiae, rampant tribalism and all those selfie/foodie pics are like a bad case of herpes – persistently annoying. However, as a human, I recognize that social media is now how we actually interact with one another in the shadow of a new decade. Longing for the days of the Elks Club, poker night or any other type of in-person socializing will get us nowhere. Being visible online allows us to share our passions with millions of people around the world. And that is a powerful tool.
These days, firearms enthusiasts need all the help we can get, which means using our voice in what seems like a hostile environment. Our friend Chuck Rossi, a gun rights leader and a former Facebook engineer, has put together a comprehensive blog post on using social media as individual shooters and those who run firearms businesses.
Chuck is an ally to the gun community with a deep knowledge set and relationships across several digital platforms. An excerpt from the post, as well as a link to the full story, can be found below.
If you’re a firearms enthusiast or a business that deals with anything in the shooting, hunting, and outdoors space, you know what a challenge it is to navigate the world of social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and the smaller circles of Snapchat, TikTok, Patreon, and Pinterest all have versions of their “Community Standards” that dictate what can and can’t be shared or sold on their platforms with regard to firearms and related gear.
This week, Instagram and Facebook made the waters murkier by announcing new restrictions on creators in a blog post ironically titled “Helping Creators Turn Their Passion Into a Living”. The new policy is at the bottom of the post and states:
Branded content that promotes goods such as vaping, tobacco products and weapons will not be allowed. Our advertising policies have long prohibited the advertisement of these products, and we will begin enforcement on this in the coming weeks.
This is a significant change in that it’s a restriction on organic content versus a paid ad or boost. The key will be to understand if this new restriction applies only to people who have an Instagram business account or use the Instagram Brand Collaborations tool. This would seem to be the only way to fairly enforce a restriction like this. If the enforcement goes beyond those areas, we’re looking at a situation where you, as a user of the platform, cannot create content that states “I think this pistol is a great beginner gun and I think it’s what you should get if you’re interested in getting into the shooting sports”. Implementing a policy like this would be exceedingly difficult and would introduce more errors and user frustration in an area that is already having issues with fairness and bias.
Read the full post here.