Facebook Blocks Links to ‘CodeIsFreeSpeech’ Website

August 10th, 2018 4:06 PM

Facebook is ironically blocking links from people who try to share the website CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, as the site contains links to blueprints for 3D printed guns.

After a long legal battle, the U.S. Department of State settled with Defense Distributed, a website that uploaded blueprints for guns that could be printed with a 3D printer. Under the settlement, Defense Distributed would have been allowed to bring back the blueprints on August 1, but judges have caused a delay in the publication of the blueprints on the Defense Distributed website. Therefore, CodeIsFreeSpeech.com was born.

According to the CodeIsFreeSpeech website, “CodeIsFreeSpeech.com is a publicly-available Web site for truthful, non-misleading, non-commercial speech and information that is protected under the United States Constitution. The purpose of this project is to allow people to share knowledge and empower them to exercise their fundamental, individual rights.”

Some who attempted to share links to CodeIsFreeSpeech.com on their page (or through Messenger) were told they were spreading spam. Forbes reported other users were confronted with a message that said the link is “not allowed” and that the ban was enacted to “protect our community.”

A Facebook spokesperson told the Media Research Center, “Sharing on how to manufacture firearms using 3D printers is not allowed under our Community Standards. In line with our policies, we are removing this content from Facebook.”

Facebook’s Community Standards, however, do not appear to have a prohibition on sharing links to content that instructs users how they could manufacture a firearm. The “Regulated Goods” rule regarding firearms reads the prohibition is on:

Content that attempts to sell, gift, exchange, or transfer firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, or explosives between private individuals. This includes content that

  • Mentions or depicts firearms, firearm parts, ammunition, or explosives and a product unrelated to firearms, and

  • Makes an attempt to sell or transfer including any of the following, unless posted by an entity representing a brick-and-mortar store, legitimate website, or brand:

  • Explicitly mentioning the product is for sale or trade

  • Asking the audience to buy

  • Listing the price or noting that the product is free

  • Encouraging contact about the product either by

  • Explicitly asking to be contacted

  • Including any type of contact information

  • Making an attempt to solicit the item for sale, defined as

  • Stating that they are interested in buying the good, or

  • Asking if anyone else has the good for sale/trade

Pressed for more information about how the 3D blueprints violate Facebook’s guidelines, Facebook referred to the Media Research Center to the top of the “Regulated Goods” section, which claims, “We also prohibit the purchase, sale, gifting, exchange, and transfer of firearms, including firearm parts or ammunition, between private individuals on Facebook.”

Sharing a link to a website that provides blueprints does not seem to violate the rule against buying, selling exchanging, or transferring firearms.

The Firearms Policy Coalition is currently running a petition drive intended to convince Facebook to lift its ban on CodeIsFreeSpeech.com.

According to the New York Daily News, the website also ran into trouble with Amazon. Amazon Web Services reportedly removed the website, citing compliance with the “temporary restraining order” issued by the judge.