New York Times Report exposes about ‘arm bazaars’ on Facebook

A new report by New York Times has highlighted about ‘arms bazaar’ on Facebook. Do not be shocked as the popular social media platform is being used by dealers and resellers to display and sell their goods in nations that have an Islamic State presence.

Members-only Facebook groups are formed in which sellers and resellers sell everything from handguns and grenades to heavy machine guns and guided missiles. The report has also found that the weapons distributed by the US to security forces and rebel groups have also made it on the social network.

New York Times has based its findings on a study released by Armament Research Services (ARES) that highlights the online trade of light weapons in Libya. Since 2014 in Libya alone, there have been 97 documented attempts of the unregulated transfers of missiles, grenade launchers, rockets, and various rifles through Facebook groups.

In fact, some of the weapons were also being resold. In Iraq, an endless assortment of weapons is being resold through Facebook groups. These weapons are the ones provided by the Pentagon to the nation’s government, including rifles, assault rifles, sub-machine guns and pistols.

Similar approach seems to have been adopted in Syria. There, arms provided by the US to local rebels have made their way on the social media. Facebook arms dealers violate the platform’s policies against the sale of weapons. A Facebook spokesperson has said that the site does not want to facilitate the private sales of firearms.

It seems that appeal of Facebook group has majorly to do with platform’s ability to display more catalogue information and images. The report findings were also based on previous reports by the New York Times on Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.

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