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Sportsman’s Club’s Posts Removed by Facebook

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Since January of 2024, The Hernando Sportsman’s Club has attempted to post various announcements for fundraisers and gun shoots on Facebook, but there was an issue. Despite having created posts like these in the past with little to no difficulty, the social media platform has now removed four such advertisements in this span.

The fundraiser posts that were blocked were for the gun shows set for January 27-28 and April 6-7 and for the machine gun shoot on February 25 of this year. The removal notice specifies that these posts regarding “guns, animals, and other regulated goods” had been removed and that their account was at risk of being suspended.

The warning advised that the group “fix” problems that their post may have to ensure they do not “lose [their] account or [their] connections.” This is a concerning predicament for the club as the policy rationale from Facebook’s Transparency Center appears to conflict with these recent takedowns:
“Do not post: Firearms content that: Attempts to buy, sell, or trade, firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, explosives, or lethal enhancements except when posted by a Page, Group or Instagram profile representing legitimate brick-and-mortar entities, including retail businesses, websites, brands or government agencies […] or a private individual sharing content on behalf of legitimate brick-and-mortar entities […]”

This list of restrictions and exceptions also includes groups endeavoring to donate or gift firearms and ammunition on their site with similar guidelines to the above statement. The description is more cut-and-dry when it comes to the restriction of a company’s posts discussing the 3D printing of, or asking for such weapons. The policy also restricts the buying, selling, or trading of machine gun conversion devices.

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So, why is this happening? Each of the organization’s removed posts, was removed with the message stating, “It looks like you tried to buy, sell, or exchange that government have restricted or banned.” It is possible that there is a mix-up due to some states having more stringent laws regarding firearms than Florida, but the local sportsman’s club’s Heather Francis states that everything they are doing from purchasing ammunition to advertising a gun show is legal in Florida and cites the right of every American citizen to bear arms.

While the Transparency Center’s website states that visibility of allowed content is only restricted regarding minors, the club’s content has been removed entirely for the time being. The conflict is that being a sportsman’s club, much of their activity is naturally centered around firearms. Francis has since stopped posting on the social media platform to not be further restricted, but therein lies the issue.

They cannot stop posting about upcoming shows and shoots indefinitely. Francis and company use Facebook to get the word out about events. Without this outlet, the non-profit is affected financially, while the public will be less informed on where they can purchase firearms.

“As a non-profit organization, we have relied on using Facebook since 2011 to help us to be able to advertise our fundraisers such as gun shows and machine gun shoots, along with our firearms safety educational classes and shooting sports competitions that we offer at our club, and to promote club membership at the club. This censorship and removal of our posts of our fundraisers directly affects us financially, and it directly affects the public to have knowledge of where they can legally buy a firearm at a gun show.”

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