Well, this week was the week that a growing list of “Blue Check” users on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and more felt the pain that cannabis advocates have felt for years now as high-profile users from the POTUS on down had their accounts indefinitely, if not permanently, banned for failing to adhere to the Terms of Service that they agreed to by signing up in the first place.
That is the hard lesson that we in the cannabis culture have been forced to accept – that these social media platforms are just private corporations who have the right to set – and enforce – their own rules.
Surprising nobody, the country is divided on the question of whether or not a social media ban equates to a ban on our First Amendment right to free speech. (Hint: It doesn’t.)
The simple fact of the matter is that Instagram could ban all pictures of cannabis, cats, or anything that irked the person in charge starting tomorrow and there is nothing that cannabis lovers, cat lovers, or even cannabis-loving cat lovers could do about it.
Though we have learned to cope with this reality, and the undue discrimination that has come along with it, our ire has been rekindled by this sudden woke attitude on display by the decision-makers at these social media megacorps who are acting like they really did just wake up to the violence, division, and distrust in fundamental truths that their platforms have enabled since their inception.
We all change though, right? We are all entitled to personal growth. So, if the powerful people sitting at the helm of these behemoths of social influence are reading this, and if they are really looking to use that power to promote the truth, we know of a great place for them to start.
LIKE, SHARE & FREE THE DAMN CANNABIS PLANT
Without getting too political or divisive, we find it offensive – and it has proven to be deadly – that for a decade or more, social media platforms have policed pro-cannabis accounts way, way harder than they have cracked down on the hatred and tribal nationalism that has been boiling to the surface online, now spilling into our streets.
Building a loyal following on social media, creating content specifically for these platforms, and keeping it all growing and evolving is a real job, and not an easy one to do effectively and authentically. As you see across all Beard Bros Pharms social media accounts, we put a part of ourselves into it every single day.
This is compounded with cannabis culture since so many of the traditional forms of advertising and marketing still consider taxed and regulated cannabis to be too taboo to touch, forcing us to rely too heavily on social media to connect to our intended audience.
So, watching our friends and colleagues lose their accounts at 100k, 200k, 300k, and more is heartbreaking to us, because we know exactly how much effort, resources, and time went into building that outlet and we pretty much live in the realm of Shadowban on our own Instagram account.
Having studied the Terms of Service and User Agreements for the most popular social media platforms, two main points became apparent:
- When it comes to cannabis, they are just waiting for federal reform as they tend to lump it in as a “controlled substance”, which it will no longer be once Uncle Sam finally removes it from the Controlled Substances Act.
- Just like the president of the homeowners association, they can choose which rules to enforce, and how hard to enforce them anytime they want to. They wrote them, after all.
Regarding the first point, we do not expect to see sponsored ads on IG for mylars full of Runtz anytime soon. Maybe not ever… though if people can sell tomatoes on there, it should be only a matter of time for cannabis. Honestly, though, we would be incredibly happy if they would just let us build our brands and interact with our audience in peace, leading them to a more appropriate marketplace without that lingering fear of living in the shadow of the Ban Hammer.
The second point is the one that really grinds on us. Whether you agree with the recent bans on certain right-wing voices or not, it would be hard for anyone to argue that they are saying anything recently that they haven’t been saying on these platforms for years without repercussion.
This tells us that Twitter and the rest simply chose not to enforce certain aspects of their own Terms of Service while taking a hatchet to accounts that barely grazed the surface of incompliance.
UNFOLLOW US FOR A BIT, K?
The future of cannabis reform is bright. That, too, is undeniable.
Though we do not expect to see significant change overnight, more cannabis-friendly lawmakers will soon control Congress, the Senate, and the White House, meaning that the days of cannabis being considered a federally “controlled substance” are numbered, and the number is low.
Equally low are the odds that the incoming wave of progressive politicians would put tech firms’ feet to the fire over some hi-res trichome shots.
So, here is our request.
Just Unfollow us for a bit, alright? Leave us alone. Let us walk this narrow path of social media cannabis marketing that we have painstakingly carved out without fear of losing it all right before the country legalizes the plant.
Whatever effort or algorithm you are wasting on weed, reassign or reprogram it to keep people from tasing their own balls to death fighting for a false cause.
Just because we aren’t storming the capital (or your corporate offices) doesn’t mean we aren’t tired of the discrimination.