Apr 08, 2016 05:51 AM EDT

Facebook Used By Marketers To Sell Weapons To Middle East Customers

Facebook has developed its extensive network globally that it is now used by billions of people but not always with the best intentions. A report from New York Times said that Facebook Groups are clandestinely using the social media network to sell firearms in the Middle East.

The transactions made through Facebook were in clear violation of its policy of selling such goods. But those prohibitions are not enough to stop sellers and warlords in Iraq, Libya and Syria and other Middle Eastern countries from buying and selling their hardware through this site.

The New York Times also reported that light weapons and small arms were sold in what is called "arms bazaars" in Facebook. It provided the social media seven examples of clandestine groups which induced the company to shut down six of these cells.

The social media giant banned the selling of guns and ammunitions in its site early this year, including its subsidiary Instagram.

A study released by Armament Research Services was used by the Times in their news report. The study highlights the online marketing of small weapons in Libya. There were also internal reports from the newspaper which validated arms trafficking in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.

Although six of the seven groups were already shut down, the remaining one was not touched because it posted photos and described the weapons, but did not use its Facebook page to sell them.

Actual arms sales from the social media network were documented by the ARES which published their report this month. Some of the transactions were sale of missiles, grenade launchers, heavy machine guns, and rockets made through Facebook Groups.

"From a virtually non-existent domestic market, the revolution and its aftermath paved the way for a large illicit arms trade to emerge," the ARES study said.

 "Many of the players in this new market began to use new technologies to hawk their wares. Online sales via social media platforms are one of the tools currently being used for this purpose," the study added.

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