Facebook to ban ads promoting weapon accessories, protective gear in U.S


FILE PHOTO: A member of Michigan Liberty Militia stands with a gun while supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally outside the State Capitol building as votes continue to be counted following the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in Lansing, Michigan, U.S., November 7, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Saturday it will ban advertisements for weapon accessories and protective equipment in the United States with immediate effect until at least two days after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Following the attack by supporters of President Donald Trump against the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, the social media company said it will now prohibit ads for accessories such as gun safes, vests and gun holsters in the United States.

"We already prohibit ads for weapons, ammunition and weapon enhancements like silencers. But we will now also prohibit ads for accessories," Facebook said in a blog post.

Three U.S. senators sent a letter to Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg on Friday asking him to permanently block advertisements of products that are clearly designed to be used in armed combat.

The senators, all Democrats, said the company must take this and other actions to "hold itself accountable for how domestic enemies of the United States have used the company's products and platform to further their own illicit aims."

Facebook on Friday blocked the creation of any new Facebook events in close proximity to places such as the White House and U.S. Capitol in Washington, as well as state capitol buildings, through Jan. 20.

The FBI has warned of armed protests being planned for Washington and all 50 state capitals in the run-up to the inauguration.

Buzzfeed reported this week that Facebook has been running ads for military equipment next to content promoting election misinformation and news about the violence on Jan. 6.

A Facebook company spokesperson said all the pages identified in the Buzzfeed story had been removed, and that the company was working with intelligence and terrorism experts and law enforcement.

(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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