Knives can be purchased on Facebook Marketplace without age verification despite a recent law requiring checks, the Guardian can reveal.
In May, the UK government made it illegal to send knives sold on the internet and elsewhere to homes without ensuring the buyer was over 18 as part of reforms to strengthen existing legislation.
However, the Guardian was able to purchase four sets of knives from sellers on Facebook Marketplace without age checks. The knives were then sent to a residential address.
It is the job of councils’ local trading standards departments to enforce knife sales laws, while the onus for verifying buyers’ ages on Facebook ultimately lies with the individual sellers – often members of the public – in the absence of a regulated age-checking system.
A wide selection of culinary knives are available on the social media site, including nine-inch cleaving knives, as well as a limited number of non-culinary knives which are not allowed to be sold on the platform.
Facebook said it worked quickly to remove any such items, and invited the Guardian to highlight adverts which did not conform to its policy. It subsequently removed one item, a culinary Damascus steel chef knife which came with a free non-culinary knife.
“We take safety very seriously, which is why you have to be 18 or older to use Facebook Marketplace,” a spokesperson said. “We do not allow the sale of non-culinary knives on Marketplace and work quickly to remove these items.”
Facebook ascertains the age of its users by asking people to provide their date of birth. It recognised it could do more to ensure children could not access inappropriate content. Read more