Like me, i bet all of you thought that Facebook, the social media platform of the masses, was just a place where you looked at pictures of funny cats or your friends new babies, pets, cars, holidays, girlfriends/boyfriends and all that other stuff that you couldn't live without. Well it seems that (if you live in Libya) a lot of social users are far more interested in photos (and prices) of the wide variety of personal armament available for sale for the household market, the left-overs from Gadhafi’s massive caches.
And it seems that there are quite a few available, actually there are a LOT. Libya’s government estimates that there are close to 15 million weapons, many left over from Gadhafi’s massive caches, circulating throughout the country and with a mistrust over the government's security from it's Libyan residents, home protection is a definite 'must'.
According to reports from Vocativ.com, who interviewed the local residents in Tripoli, some of the people had this to say. "We don’t trust the militias, we don’t trust the government, we don’t trust anyone,” says university student Ahmed Klisel, AK-47 in hand. “It’s really easy to obtain weapons in Libya. An AK-47 is a necessity in every household. More households have more than one. Or they have an AK-47 and a few pistols, handguns.” And it’s not just men who carry weapons. Fidgeting with a small handgun, single mother Hind Ahmed Benghagab says, “We never thought we would see the day where Libyan women would need guns.”
Social media it seems, has become the easiest and most popular way to purchase one of the estimated 15 million weapons, while the growing prevalence of such underground arms markets is a sign that although the war may be over, almost two years after its successful revolution removed a dictator, real stability is still a long way off, with thousands of Libyans are taking advantage of a security vacuum in a country flooded with weapons.
It seems that the groups responsible for the black-social-market arms sales are leftover revolutionary brigades that are in possession of real arsenals. The current Libyan government has failed to bring these brigades fully under the control of the government, either as a national army or a national police force.
And that's where the problem lies, creating an 'open market', where cash is king and anything can be purchased, if you know the right people to 'friend' on Facebook.
To give some idea of who to contact and what kind of cash you'd have to part with The Independent newspaper 'found at least five groups openly stating their purpose as a channel connecting gun vendors to gun purchasers. A Kalashnikov was advertised for 1,100 dinars, or about $900. Entire arsenals, including rockets and bullets, were also on display'.
Facebook’s move to tighten its rules on gun advertising has failed to satisfy the pro- and anti-gun lobby.
The social network has become one of the world’s largest marketplaces for guns, and has come under pressure to clamp down on illegal sales. Craigslist, Google and eBay all prohibit unlicensed gun sales, not just in Libya, but worldwide.
Monika Bickert, Facebook’s head of global policy management said the company “will not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law. For example, private sellers of firearms in the US will not be permitted to specify ‘no background check required,’ nor can they offer to transact across state lines without a licensed firearms dealer.”
The featured video from Vocativ's YouTube channel (above) for this post shows the wide range of weaponry available and the reactions from the people who want to buy them. As one of the Youtube comments states, "Why the hell would someone need an Anti Tank missile to "defend their house?". Indeed.
H/T - Vocativ.com -- The Independent.co.uk