ARES Finds Illegal Weapon Stores on Facebook

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Facebook can be associated with a great many things. From the face of interconnectivity to the symbol for procrastination, many see Facebook in their own different way. Regardless of these dissenting views, Facebook still goes doing its own thing, only occasionally actually giving in to public demand – because after all, they do know what’s best for us.

Of course, this particular view, one that sees the social media platform as doing whatever it wants because the people behind it know that we’ll come back anyway is somewhat grounded in reality, but things aren’t as black and white as that. In fact, one might argue that truly attempting to offer us the best services they can.

With so many things Facebook is associated with, arm dealers are probably no that high on the list, seeing as most of us concern ourselves with the interpersonal relationships offered, not actually paying attention to outside struggles. But apparently that’s exactly the case, as ARES finds illegal weapon stores on Facebook.

ARES is a group also known as the Armament Research Services, and it generally focuses on conducting professional research on various weapon-related topics. A recent study from the groups revealed that many groups on the social media platform engage in the commercialization of illegal weapons, particularly in war-torn countries such as Libya.

So let’s talk, for example, about Libya. After Qadaffi was overthrown and killed in 2011, the country has been lacking any official form of government, and chaos has been ruling the streets. And even though things calmed down since then, the fact remains that illegal activities are at their highest throughout the country.

Take weapons, which were totally banned under the Qadaffi regime. After the dictator’s death, the illicit arms trade exploded, with a huge number of people getting a very large number of light weapons. But don’t get fooled by their names, as light weapons can be anything from machine guns or grenade launchers to antitank guided weapons, rocket launchers, and even portable air defense systems.

And even though Facebook has done a lot to prevent this, including banning the private commercialization of weapons on the social media platform, it’s very easy to obfuscate the activities in the somewhere around 620 million groups present on the website.

The recent ARES study, being just preliminary, looks at 97 online weapons sales from Libya over the past year and a half. Meanwhile, their extensive study will be ready in two and a half months, and it will detail some 1,364 online weapons sales from multiple countries, all originating on social media.

Image source: Wikimedia

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