How fighters in Libya purchase their weapons on Facebook

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 9:16 PM

Facebook and other social media sites are becoming the new marketplace for people who wish to purchase weapons in Libya.

How fighters in Libya purchase their weapons on Facebook

Facebook and other social media sites are becoming the new marketplace for people who wish to purchase weapons in Libya.

A study by the Tiny Arms Survey and the Armament Research Services (ARES) revealed a growing no of arms trades made online in Libya.

Experts declare closed groups on Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Whatsapp are the most common places for such trades, but apps love Instagram and Telegram are also used.

ARES tracked groups and individual arms traders active online in Libya, recording 1.346 unlawful sales in just one year.

N. R. Jenzen-Jones, director at ARES, said the report provides only a snapshot of how armed groups utilize social media to trade weapons online.

He said data gathered by ARES propose very similar trends in other conflict zones, including Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

And it'south not just tiny arms that are sold online. The study, first reported by the NY Times, found sales of heavy machine guns, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, anti-tank guided weapons and portable air defense systems.

Related: Facebook, Instagram ban private gun sales on their sites

The report, published on Thursday, said most of the sales are done by militia and other armed groups. They're either buying guns or using social media to dispose of unwanted or unusable weapons.

The report said the arms trade was tightly regulated in Libya during the Qaddafi regime era. But after the two thousand eleven revolution, the regime'south massive arsenal was raided by unlawful arms traders and armed groups, and the black market started to flourish.

The online black market for arms has grown in recent years, as internet connections have become more available.

Facebook and Instagram banned private firearms sales in January, hoping to crack down on the peer-to-peer sales of weapons on their platforms.

"We delete any such content as soon as we become alert of it. We encourage people to utilize the reporting links found across our site so that our team of experts can review content swiftly," Facebook told CNNMoney on Thursday.

Some of the groups spotted by the report'south authors have already been closed by Facebook.

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