Facebook rolled out (another) set of new policies on Wednesday targeting alcohol and tobacco. Private sales, trades, transfers and gifting of alcohol or tobacco products is now forbidden on the site and their Instagram subsidiary. Plus, any content relating to the sale of alcohol must be “age-gated.”
“We are updating our regulated goods policy to prohibit the sale of alcohol and tobacco products between private individuals on Facebook and Instagram,” Facebook said in a statement.
Transgressors will be punished with suspended if not revoked accounts aka ‘Facebook Jail’). In a rather Skynet-y line of the release, Facebook promised to “use a combination of technology, human review and reports from our community to find and remove any content that violates these policies.”
Mind you, the private sale of spirits is illegal in most states. In addition, Facebook previously banned public sales of alcohol in their Marketplace section. However, this prohibition will certainly affect the thriving grey market.
“[The ban] will definitely shut down most of my groups”
In thousands of Facebook groups, collectors of beer, wine, and spirits regularly sell or trade bottles in this grey market.
Neat Pour some with one collector who buys and sells online regularly; he wished to remain anonymous due to the legalities involved.
“Several groups that I’m active in received a notification from Facebook explaining the new policy,” he told NP. “If they enforce the change, it will definitely shut down most of my groups and put a big dent, maybe for the better, in the secondary markets for things like bourbon.”
Our source noted that there are still a handful of other venues that tacitly permit private sales and trading. For example, most local CraigsLists sites have boards dedicated to alcohol sales.
In addition to the bourbon markets, craft beer will be especially hard hit by the change. The brew enthusiast communities thrive on trades. Adding insult to injury, the new regulation also banned the sale and trade of “kits” popular among those just starting out in homebrewing.