Even if you spend your every waking hour on Facebook, you’ll probably never encounter its darker side. The side which is used for say, selling weapons.
However according to new reports, the social media site is your go-to place if you’re after a gun.
As reported by the New York Times, the report revealed attempts at the transfer of everything from missiles, heavy machine guns, grenade launchers, rocket launchers, and anti aircraft guns, on Libyan Facebook groups since late 2014.
The private groups are used particularly in places which have a high ISIS presence such as Syria, Iraq, and Libya.
As concluded by The Armament Research Services, they said that there were up to 300 arms sales a month in Libya alone.
Apparently in Libya, the majority of arms were originally intended for U.S use, but were later either stolen or sold illegally.
As reported by Quartz, The Small Arms Survey believes that the trade via social media started in 2013 and is only getting bigger every day.
Using groups like the ‘Libyan Firearms Market’ (now taken down), heavy machine guns where selling for an average of 8,125 Libyan dinar (£4,190), rocket launchers for 9,000 Libyan dinar (£4,675), and an anti-aircraft system for 85,000 Libyan dinar (£44,175).
Facebook has since removed six particular groups identified as those selling arms, however in my opinion it would appear that Facebook is simply too big to monitor entirely – so the underground arms trade will more than likely persist.
Joseph Loftus is a Gold Standard NCTJ journalist with four years experience working for international and regional press.
As well as working for UNILAD and LADbible, Joseph has worked as Liverpool Correspondent for Unsigned & Independent Magazine, as well as stints with the Liverpool Echo and Warrington Guardian.