The NRA's Social Media Silence Isn't Working

Rebecca Greenfield
The NRA's Social Media Silence Isn't Working

Gun control and gun rights have instantly come to dominate the American conversation, but the biggest gun lobby in America apparently has decided to sit this one out — at least on the Internet. Since the Newtown school shooting Friday, the National Rifle Association has deactivated its Facebook account, AdWeek noticed, just days after announcing it it had reached a 1.7 million fan milestone.

Did you hear? Our #facebook page reached 1.7 million "likes" today! Thanks for being a friend! #NRA…

— NRA (@NRA) December 13, 2012

The NRA also hasn't tweeted since putting up a giveaway post at 9:36 a.m. Friday, just before the Sandy Hook news broke. So far, the lobby hasn't commented on the mass shooting at all — silence in a mass shooting being its norm. While the NRA likely went dark on Facebook in order to avoid a barrage of comments, at this point users are claiming cowardice. 

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Obviously anything the NRA posts in the immediate aftermath will be considered in context of the shootings, but even what it's not saying has become politicized. That last giveaway tweet, for example, inspired responses like this:

On the tenth day of Christmas the @nra gave to me, an elementary school slaughter

— TBogg (@tbogg) December 14, 2012

When pressed by reporters, an NRA spokesman on Friday said the group would have no comment "until the facts are thoroughly known." Until then, if the weekend's non-stop #NRA trending topic is any indication — "spineless" and "cowardly" were not infrequently used words — its social-media silence has been interpreted as a kind of comment unto itself. Monday's new topic appears to be #NoWayNRA, and still no response.