A study by the Small Arms Survey and the Armament Research Services (ARES) revealed a growing number of arms trades made online in Libya.

Experts say closed groups on Facebook (FBTech30) and Whatsapp are the most common places for such trades, but apps like Instagram and Telegram are also used.

ARES tracked groups and individual arms traders active online in Libya, recording 1,346 illicit sales in just one year.

N.R. Jenzen-Jones, director at ARES, said the report provides only a snapshot of how armed groups use social media to trade weapons online.

He said data gathered by ARES suggest very similar trends in other conflict zones, including Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

And it’s not just small arms that are sold online. The study, first reported by the New York Times, found sales of heavy machine guns, rocket launchers, grenade launchers, anti-tank guided weapons and portable air defense systems.

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