Facebook is cracking down on content that instructs the public on creating firearms using 3D printers. Blueprints for these weapons have been available online for years, raising concerns about safety and the technology’s ability to circumvent existing gun laws. Facebook confirmed the removal to several media outlets today, saying the content is against its Community Standards.
3D-printed firearms can be created using printers available to consumers, involving hardware pieces that can be purchased online and at many physical stores. Blueprints are readily available online, as well as videos offering instructions and demonstrations of printed firearms.
These DIY guns are problematic for numerous reasons. The materials used to create them are unsuitable for firearm use and may result in the weapon exploding after being fired multiple times — some demonstrations have shown the weapons breaking during the first shot, potentially injuring individuals nearby.
As well, these blueprints make it possible for individuals to create guns that are untraceable and unknown to the government, and that may not set off metal detectors. In a statement to CNBC, Facebook said that it is removing content that shows how to 3D print guns. “In line with our policies,” the company said, “we are removing this content from Facebook.”
The company will release an updated policy that makes it clear that this content is banned. Until then, it remains unclear whether the restriction could lead to accounts or pages being suspended.