Salesforce bans companies that sell certain types of guns from using its software

Key Points
  • Salesforce's updated policy bans companies that sell certain types of firearms from using its software. 
  • The company and its CEO, Marc Benioff, have been outspoken on a number of political topics including guns and homelessness.
  • Companies like Amazon and eBay have previously banned the sale of firearms on their platforms.
Marc Benioff, Co-CEO of SalesForce speaking at the WEF in Davos, Switzerland on Jan. 22, 2019.
Adam Galica | CNBC

Salesforce has updated its policy to turn away customers that sell a wide range of firearms to private citizens online, including a small number of existing clients.

A company spokesperson confirmed the change to CNBC following a Washington Post report revealing Salesforce was barring certain firearms companies from using its services. The policy was updated in early April to bar customers that sell a range of firearms, including automatic and certain semi-automatic firearms, 3D printed guns and even blueprints for such guns.

"After carefully reviewing similar policies in the industry and discussing with internal and external stakeholders, we updated our policy," a Salesforce spokesperson said. "The change affects new customers and a small number of existing customers when their current contracts expire."

Other tech companies have taken similar actions. Both Amazon and eBay ban the sale of firearms on their platforms, although both allow for the sale of some firearm accessories.

Salesforce's chief executive Marc Benioff frequently weighs in on political issues. Benioff was a brazen supporter of a measure in San Francisco meant to fund solutions to the homelessness crisis by taxing local companies with more than $50 million in annual revenue -- including Salesforce. He's been quick to lash out at other tech leaders, like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, for fueling tech addiction and has repeatedly compared Facebook to cigarettes.

When it comes to guns, Benioff tweeted support of banning the AR-15 rifle following the deadly shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida last year.


Salesforce said it hired a chief ethical and humane use officer late last year to "develop a strategic framework for the ethical and humane use of technology across Salesforce," according to a press release from the announcement.

While the new policy is likely to get criticism from the political right, Salesforce has also received criticism from the left over its policies. The company has been blasted for providing technology to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency. Hundreds of Salesforce's own employees asked the company to rethink its contract after they said the agency used the service to "manage border activities," during the Trump administration's family separation policy, according to a letter obtained by Buzzfeed News.

-CNBC's Ari Levy contributed to this report.

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