The owner of a Missouri gun parts and accessories retailer said his Facebook and Instagram accounts were deleted without explanation over the last two weeks.
TJ Kirgin, head of Tactical Shit, said the company’s Facebook account, with roughly 480,000 fans, was deactivated last week without warning or explanation. The company’s Instagram account, which Kirgin said had 250,000 fans, was then deleted without warning on Wednesday. The Facebook account has since been restored, but the Instagram account remains deactivated.
Facebook purchased Instagram in April 2012.
"We received no warning or indication of why Facebook unpublished our page last week," Kirgin said to the Washington Free Beacon. "All it said was ‘your page Tactical Shit has been unpublished.’ Thirty-six hours later our page was republished after a ton of media exposure combined with petitions of FB executive staff to help us since we were unfairly targeted."
"Now, just hours after my interview with Tomi Lahren regarding the incident with Facebook, our Instagram page was deleted," Kirgin continued. "When the admin logged in the screen read, ‘Your account has been deleted for violating our terms. You won’t be able to log into this account and no one else will be able to see it. We’re unable to restore accounts that are deleted for these types of violations.’"
Company policy prohibits the sale of firearms on both Facebook and Instagram, but Kirgin’s company only sells parts and accessories, not firearms themselves.
Kirgin said he believes the accounts were targeted because they present a pro-gun point of view.
"I can only guess that it was deleted due to the pro-law enforcement, conservative, and pro-gun nature of the content," he said. "There is no other explanation. We had not violated any of the Instagram terms. It also seems suspect that it was mere hours after my interview with Tomi in which she ranted about [Facebook] owner Mark Zuckerberg."
The deletions have already had an impact on the company, which employs a dozen people, mostly veterans. Kirgin said traffic to his site has fallen and "use of the Instagram promo code is down 20 percent this morning already."
Kirgin said he wants Facebook to go after actual bad actors and provide better communication with companies going forward.
"Target companies and organizations that truly break their rules like ISIS, Black Lives Matter, and Gun Traders/Sellers," he said. "Oh, and leave us alone unless we do something wrong, and if we do, tell us what we are punished for."