Facebook criticized for still censoring marijuana-related content


Facebook does not seem to recognize that marijuana is legal in some jurisdictions. Not only has Facebook been censoring marijuana-related posts, but also content about legal cannabis products such as hemp bioplastics, and educators trying to raise awareness about marijuana for medicinal purposes.

In Canada, a group called Mary Mothers, created by two moms from Montreal to offer maternal mental health advice and how marijuana fits into their lives, was forced off Facebook due to censorship of marijuana content.

By the time its founders decided to quit Facebook, the group, started in 2018, had more than 5,000 members.

They said that if group admins are not doing a good enough job moderating the [cannabis] content, then the group would get shut down, one of the groups founders Annie Bertrand said, speaking to The GrowthOp.

Even after making the effort to remove posts promoting the gray market marijuana business, Facebook still sent violation notices to the groups admins. Realizing that they would continue getting the violation notices, the groups founders abandoned Facebook and built their own site.

We just fully walked away from those 5,000 people because it was just too stressful every day waking up and wondering, is everything that weve worked on going to be gone? Bretrand said. It took a lot of months to come to terms with it. But we just realized we had all our eggs in Mark Zuckerbergs basket and he doesnt want to hold it, she added.

Mary Mothers is not the only one affected by Facebooks strict guidelines on marijuana-related content. Everyone promoting marijuana, from educators to retailers in the cannabis and hemp industry are getting censored.

Sarah Lovegrove, a cannabis educator who left nursing in 2018 to increase awareness about the effectiveness of cannabis and psychedelics in PTSD treatment, has also had her posts censored in Instagram.

Instagram is so widely used and has such potential and so does Facebook. But theres a lot of limits, she said, speaking to The GrowthOp. It limits our capacity to provide public education in any kind of accessible way. It just perpetuates stigma and dangerous use of substances. People are using these substances whether theyre educated about them or not. And it creates a distinct environmental harm if we are not educating around it.

Former actor Jim Belushi, who is now a cannabis grower, took to Twitter to complain about Facebooks censorship. He wrote:

So sick of Facebook / Instagram. They shadow banned my farms Facebook page Belushis Farm and our Instagram. PLUS, they constantly take down our content. Dont they know cannabis [is] a medicine?

Facebooks marijuana content policy extends to hemp businesses, including those that manufacture paper, bioplastics, and superfoods.

All this stuff should be fair game and shouldnt be limited because theres a hemp component or hemp ingredient, said Morris Beegle, the head of We Are For Better Alternatives, a group of companies that deal in hemp products, including hemp clothing and paper.

I think Congress made it clear with the Farm Bill. Canada has made it clear for 20 years that hemp foods are legal and Europe has made it clear for 20 plus years, with hemp foods and building materials and bioplastics. I think that eventually, well get there. But maybe its going to take federal legalization here in the United States or decriminalization.

Most of the people interviewed by The GrowthOp claim Facebook has intensified its moderation of cannabis content in recent weeks.

I feel like its generally been the worst its been, in my experience, in this past month, said Kendra Nicholson, a marketing consultant in Toronto who helps marijuana retailers.

Its just such a risk to potentially lose what little you have, she added. Were all kind of biding our time in terms of when and where your account could be taken away from you.

Facebooks main platforms policies prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers, and retailers to purchase, sell, or trade non-medical drugs, pharmaceutical drugs, and marijuana.

Instagram, which was acquired by Facebook for $1 billion in 2021, also prohibits marijuana content, but with more specific wording. Its community standards state:

Instagram doesnt allow people or organizations to use the platform to advertise or sell marijuana, regardless of the sellers state or country.

Additionally, the photo-sharing platform does not allow cannabis businesses to promote their products using its advertisement tools.

In contrast, other social networks such as Twitter and Clubhouse are a little lax in censoring cannabis content.

According to some, Facebook might be banning marijuana content to avoid problems with governments.

This is not that important to them from a business perspective, said Rick Moscone, the co-chair of the Canadian Marketing Association, a cannabis marketing group.

Theyve got other battles that theyre fighting. Theyre looking at this and saying we dont need to be caught in the middle here. There are not enough dollars to be made. Well wait until theres absolute clarity around this stuff and then well play in this sandbox.

The post Facebook criticized for still censoring marijuana-related content appeared first on Reclaim The Net.

SOURCE: https://reclaimthenet.org/facebook-criticized-for-still-censoring-marijuana-related-content/

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