How Terrorists Purchase Weapons On FacebookBy Anita V, UniversityHerald Reporter
Libya is taking Facebook to the next worrying level after the country's fighters were reportedly spending money to purchase weapons using social media platforms.
Small Arms Survey studied the arms trafficking and found that Libya is utilizing various apps to make the purchase, including Instagram, Whatsapp and Telegram.
Armament Research Services (ARES) found online active sales that recorded more than a thousand illicit trades within a year. Sadly, this was just a snapshot. The survey also managed to detail what the armed men were buying. Sales such as heavy machine guns and grenades were just among many other weaponry used in defense system. The trend in purchasing weapon online actually happens in conflict zones like Iraq and Syria as well.
According to the NYTimes, terrorists were apparently looking no further than social media like Facebook as the platform has become a 'bazaar station' offering rocket launchers and handguns. The evidence of selling military guns to Libyan fighters also mentioned about some of the items distributed in the Middle East - which were intended for security forces.
In Syria, the weapons that Syrian fighters use are identical to the ones that U.S. provided. It has been traded on messaging apps. A student and sniper in Syria was offering assault rifle Kalashnikov whom he said to have been obtained from the United States. Describing the rifle on Facebook, he wrote that the weapon was new and never been used.
The report that reached Facebook official's desk led to the banning of gun sales in January. It is hoped to reduce peer-to-peer trading that's been going privately so far. Telling CNN Money on the banning, Facebook confirmed to remove suspicious contents as soon as they were aware of it. The global social media platform also encourages users to report any site linked to firearms trades using their reporting button.
Facebook already updated its policy. After prohibiting marijuana and illicit drugs sales on its page, the platform is now aiming for unlicensed firearms to prevent black market from flourishing.