FaceBook is a bit indecisive on where they stand on marijuana. For instance, Facebook says it doesn’t want to encourage drug use and bans what it thinks is content that advocates the use of marijuana, like photos or videos of people smoking marijuana. On the other hand, it at times allows cannabis-related companies to advertise their businesses. Then Facebook reverses course and censors journalism about cannabis.
“Facebook doesn’t have any written rules,” stated Isaac Dietrich of social media website Mass Roots.
“So we’re flying in the dark with arbitrary rules that are enforced at the whim of people.” Mass Roots is actually a separate social media web page for marijuana-related businesses and people, yet it acknowledges the strength of Facebook and that is the reason they are working to maintain a presence there and has hosted Facebook live events.
“We’re one step removed from the plant, but our Instagram page has been suspended five times this fall. We got it back after we defended ourselves,” stated Dietrich. Facebook also took the liberty of having some of the businesses videos related to marijuana deleted Dietrich isn’t sour about it, he is aware that the dispensaries have a much more difficult time and eventually, the issues with Facebook just gives Mass Roots additional users.
“They verified Weedmaps and gave them a competitive advantage because they were officially accepted,” he said. Weedmaps is a website and app that helps people locate dispensaries and gives reviews. Dietrich isn’t bitter, he knows the dispensaries have a harder time and ultimately, the problems with Facebook just gives Mass Roots more users. Dispensaries, in particular, endure the brunt of Facebook’s censorship. Medicine Man, the biggest marijuana shop in Denver, where marijuana is legal stated, “Yes, we have had our social media accounts shut down a number of times.”
Flowhub, a point-of-sale software company for cannabis-related businesses has not encountered any issues, said CEO Kyle Sherman, “Although I’ve heard of several issues in the cannabis industry related to social media accounts. I can only assume we haven’t run into any hiccups because we simply don’t ‘touch’ the plant.” Sherman is quick to add that it could happen in the future and thinks that it’s the majority of businesses that actively endorse marijuana sales that are singled out and targeted. Marijuana publication High Times has been allowed to operate on both Facebook and Instagram, however, that doesn’t mean it is completely content with the way Facebook handles them
Larry Linietsky, the Chief Operating Officer of the magazine, said, “We have continued to be perplexed by the treatment of cannabis and cannabis events by Facebook.” He said their news reporting has been age-gated and that similar articles by more mainstream media don’t get the same restrictions. Larry Linietsky, the Chief Operating Officer of the magazine, said, “We have continued to be perplexed by the treatment of cannabis and cannabis events by Facebook.”
Facebook though has refused to allow stories from Forbes by this writer, so it is not only High Times that is reduced to this irrational system of what is and isn’t allowed. A representative of CalCann Holdings, a Southern California cannabis portfolio company, stated, “We’ve had out account shut down for marijuana-related material. We also just had our 3,500 follower Instagram account erased.” CalCann points out real estate properties that would be suitable for a marijuana business.
High Times Linietsky summed it up best: “We are hopeful that the progressive minds tech geniuses at Facebook will relax their stance on cannabis. But for now, legitimate cannabis businesses have one hand tied behind our backs.”
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