After much bearing down on the social media giant, Facebook finally caved and banned the sales of knives on its platform.
Not just the sales but also the advertisement of these tools. So, you cannot even advertise your knives and funnel all that traffic back onto your website or store.
With more than 2.89 billion monthly active users, getting just 1% of that traffic to your store would be amazing. This makes Facebook one of the best places to sell your knives online.
Follow through this guide to see what you need to put in place for a higher chance of selling those knives to a ready market.
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Is It Illegal to Sell Knives on Facebook?
It is not illegal for a person to purchase knives via Facebook. The law requires that Facebook clamps down on the sales of knives via its platform to control the unauthorized transaction of knives in line with other dangerous weapons.
This move makes it possible for law enforcement to keep an eye on the sales of potentially harmful tools and where they are going.
Thus, you are not in the wrong if you sell knives on Facebook. The only condition is that you should never sell knives that are considered illegal. Under carry laws in different US states, there are sanctions for not only carrying certain knives but possessing them with the intent to sell or distribute them.
Make sure to check with all relevant laws to ensure you are not breaking the law by selling a particular kind of knife on Facebook.
Why is Facebook banning knife sales?
The war against the sales of knives seems unfair, given how common these tools are in our society today.
However, there are certain reasons behind this move that the social media giant was forced to take.
Explore some of those reasons below as they will prepare you for setting up shop properly when it’s time for you to sell your blades via the platform.
There are age limits to buying a knife in different places. Since Facebook relies on the data registered by the user to determine their age, they cannot complete factual age checks to know whether these knives are sold to adults or not.
The Guardian carried out one of such experiments where they purchased some knives off Facebook vendors. The knives got to their preferred shipping addresses, and there was never an age check.
Left unregulated, this could lead to a situation where younger people are circumventing local and state laws by buying knives online instead.
It is the equivalent of selling alcohol to a kid online because they would not be attended to if they were to walk into a bar.
Sometimes ago, I discussed:
- Why butterfly knives are illegal;
- Whether or not bowie knives are legal;
- The ban around ballistic knives;
- Why the ka-bar knife is considered illegal for carrying; and more.
You would not walk into a conventional store and see these knives sold there. Vendors know better than to break the law that way.
Selling online, however, gives a lot of room and leeway to sell almost anything to anyone. Now, those knives that cannot be exchanged in brick-and-mortar stores would be sold online if such clampdowns are not in place.
How Can You Sell Knives on Facebook?
First off, you can still get your page pulled down or your ad revoked even when you do everything right.
In some cases, such as that of this artisan knife brand from Canada, Facebook algorithms might see the knives as being in the wrong category. Even though the company appealed the ban and got back their account, they were still not able to promote their knives.
That said, let’s get into it:
Don’t sell via groups
Facebook maintains that you can host groups connecting people who are interested in knives and other weapons, as long as you don’t connect them to where they can buy it.
I would think that this relates to marketplaces generally, so don’t link to the likes of Amazon, Best Buy, or any other place that you get your knives from.
A neat way around this could be to create a website/ blog where you share your thoughts about knives and send your social group traffic there. That would be a good way to build a readership that can then buy the knives from the recommendations you make on the website – not Facebook itself.
Alternatively, you can post the knives to your group without the selling tag. Members of the group, and other interested parties, know to contact you if they ever want to get the knives and you can arrange the private sale.
The onus lies on you to not sell illegal knives while also verifying the age of the people that you sell to.
Stick to kitchen knives
A part of the knife ad ban specifically mentioned non-culinary knives, among other knives.
This gets a little dicey, though.
In the hands of the wrong person (or right person, depending on the situation), a chef knife can also be used for self-defense or advancing attacks. The fact that a knife was designed for cooking does not mean it cannot be used in a violent situation.
Likewise, pocket knives taken on hiking can be used to prepare meals, among other things they are useful for.
This puts a lot of confusion and ambiguity into what a culinary knife is and what it’s not. If you ask me, I would say you should stick to conventional kitchen knives in your ads.
Make sure to age-check
To be on the safer side, always set your ad age range limit to start from 18.
In most regions, eighteen (18) is the starting age to purchase a kitchen knife legally so you shouldn’t have any issues with that. If you are split testing your ads, consider running another with the age 21 limit.
Again, that is because some regions might have 18 set as their age of consent, but they would pander towards 21 where cases such as this one are concerned.
Note your freebies
Your ads, group offer, or marketplace listing might be fine in itself. When Facebook looks at the freebies you are offering with the package, though, they could decide not to approve your sales process.
I’ll give you an example.
If you were selling kitchen knives and you decided to spice the sale up by offering a pocket knife freebie, you could be asking for trouble.
Facebook could decide that you are simply trying to ship off the pocket knife to users too, circumventing the rules by leading with the kitchen knife. Even if they didn’t think along those lines, the truth is that you will still be shipping a non-culinary knife via the platform, and that is against the rules.
So, make sure to take note of the simple things like this when listing your knives for sale there.
Beware the titles
Some users advise that you use shady titles like “You know what this is,” “Culinary cutting tools” or other variations to get your listing approved.
That sure makes you look guilty of flouting the laws. I also don’t think it’s a good way to build a good brand reputation for yourself in the long run.
Still, you have to be careful what you put in the titles.
Say, you have a knife with a gunmetal handle finish, Facebook could flag the listing due to the ‘gun’ in the name.
Other Places to Sell Knives Online
Fortunately, Facebook is not the only place where you can sell knives online.
Of course, their ad, groups, and marketplace platforms give you access to a wider range and variety of buyers. At the same time, I don’t think you should ever put all of your eggs in one basket.
I have written a more extensive guide to other places where you can sell your knives online seamlessly. Make sure to check them out to enjoy even more sales on a wider variety of knives.