Facebook has confirmed it is cracking down on users advertising animals for sale on the site.
The website had a long-standing policy stating animals are not to be sold on its platform (news, 4 May 2017), but there has been little enforcement until recently.
Some pages advertising horses for sale have been removed as have individual adverts.
H&H has also learned of adverts previously approved by Facebook and those which individuals have paid Facebook to “boost” have now been found to be “in breach of community standards”. They have been removed and in at least one case, the page deactivated and the user’s personal account suspended.
A Facebook spokesman told H&H it has “recently made some changes” in how it approaches animal sales.
These include updating its “community standards” policies — the most recent changes that affect those attempting to buy or sell horses are dated April 2019.
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A footnote explaining its “policy rationale” states: “As we strive to protect the welfare of animals against illicit trades, we cannot always ensure their safety in a peer-to-peer transaction.
“We will still allow such sales if posted by brick-and-mortar entities, animal rehoming, and adoption agencies and shelters.
“This is an update to our existing policy, which already prohibits the sale of endangered wildlife and their parts.
“We will continue working to keep both people and animals safe and also plan on providing new reporting options on Facebook so that people can report content that violates this policy.”
Users have questioned how an advert on the site can be an animal welfare risk. Many reacted with shock and a number of group admins are asking their members not to post adverts for fear of the groups’ being shut down.
For more on this, don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out Thursday, 23 May.
Horses for sale special offer
To help riders and owners who have relied on Facebook to buy and sell horses in recent years, Horse & Hound is offering a special re-introductory offer — for just £1 you can advertise your horse or pony on Horse & Hound’s website, which is visited by more than 1.3million users every month.
Your advert will also appear in Horse & Hound magazine, which is read by 120,000 knowledgable equestrians every month, who own on average three horses.
A standard package, normally £35, is available at a reduced rate of £1 until midnight 31 May. This includes one print advert in one issue of H&H magazine (4×1) and six weeks online with unlimited photos and videos.
A premium package, normally £50, is also available for £16 until midnight 31 may. This includes one slightly larger print advert in one issue of H&H (4×2), it will appear above the standard adverts online and will also have a premium badge and background online.
For more on Facebook’s latest changes and the impact of these, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine’s news pages in our 23 May issue.