Facebook Bans Sharing of 3D-Printed Gun Files

Facebook appears to be blocking users from sharing a link to CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, a website that hosts files to 3D-printable firearm designs. Gun rights activists are accusing the company of censorship.

Facebook is going to ban 3D-printed gun blueprints from circulating over the company's services.

"Sharing instructions on how to manufacture firearms using 3D printers or CNC (computer numerical controlled) milling machines is not allowed under our Community Standards. In line with our policies, we are removing this content from Facebook," the company said on Thursday in an email. BuzzFeed was first to report the news.

Facebook made the statement as several states are suing to stop gun rights activist Cody Wilson from sharing his 3D-printed gun files over the internet. Last month, a US district judge temporarily blocked Wilson from uploading the blueprints over his website DEFCAD.com until the legal battle can be resolved in court.

In the meantime, a separate website called CodeIsFreeSpeech.com has been circulating 3D-printable gun blueprints online, which include designs for an AR-15 rifle. However, Facebook decided to take action against the site starting last week; the company has been banning any posts and messages containing the link to CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, according to the gun rights activist group behind the site.

CodeIsFree Facebook Error

"In an outrageous display of censorship and bias, Facebook forced a company-wide — Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram — takedown of content about and inclusive of CodeIsFreeSpeech.com," the Firearms Policy Coalition said in a statement.

For example, if you now attempt to text CodeIsFreeSpeech.com over Facebook Messenger, you'll produce an error message that says: "The action attempted has been deemed abusive or is otherwise disallowed." Posting the link over Facebook appears to also trigger the site to block it as spam.

So far, Facebook hasn't commented directly on the CodeIsFreeSpeech banning. But a company spokeswoman told PCMag that the new 3D-printed gun file restriction is in line with Facebook's existing policy on limiting gun distribution over the platform.

That policy does prohibit the sale, exchange, and transfer of firearms between users on Facebook. However, it also leaves room for online discussions about firearm sales and gun parts.

"Firearm stores and online retailers may promote items available for sale off of our services as long as those retailers comply with all applicable laws and regulations," the policy adds.

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