I write about the business of marijuana.
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
On the one hand, it says it doesn’t want to promote drug use and bans what it believes is content that approves of marijuana use, like pictures of people smoking pot. On the other hand, it sometimes allow cannabis-related companies to promote their businesses. Then Facebook reverses course and censors journalism about cannabis.
The logic that a story about legalization of marijuana or scientific studies on cannabis-related medicine is promoting cannabis is completely ridiculous. A story about war doesn’t promote war nor does a story about wine entice readers to go get drunk. Facebook didn’t respond to a request for clarification on its policy towards marijuana.
“Facebook doesn’t have any written rules,” said 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 site for cannabis friendly businesses and people, but it recognizes the power of Facebook and that is why they are trying 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,” said Dietrich. The business has also had some videos deleted by Facebook. He’s also not happy with the discrepancies over who Facebook does approve.
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 bear the brunt of Facebook’s censorship. Medicine Man, the largest dispensary in Denver, where marijuana is legal said, “Yes, we have had our social media accounts shut down a number of times.”