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  • Instagram Censors Cannabis Content (and How To Fight Back)

Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, and its social media channels are booming. According to Forbes, the cannabis industry is estimated to be worth $20 billion, and with that growth comes more consumers who want to talk about and share their experiences with friends and strangers alike on these social platforms. However, there’s one major problem: Instagram censors cannabis content in an effort to maintain the image it wants to project to investors and advertisers, no matter what it takes. 

 

What does this mean for the millions of Americans who use Instagram to connect with others about their favorite plant?

 

Instagram Account Deleted Screen

 

The online cannabis community agrees that this has gone on long enough. 

 


 

With over a billion monthly users, Instagram has become an essential part of marketing and business growth strategy in nearly every industry. That story is no different for the cannabis industry, which has unfortunately experienced extreme censorship for over three years now. Instagram currently treats cannabis as a “regulated good” with their policy prohibiting: “attempts by individuals, manufacturers and retailers to purchase, sell or trade” marijuana. So why then are law abiding content creators and legal operating businesses in the cannabis sphere being deleted, shadowbanned, and censored when they follow the policy? 


 

What Rules Are Cannabis Creators Breaking?

The page or link is broken instagram notificatoin

There are several accounts of creators and businesses being deleted without having promoted the sale or trade of cannabis while actual cannabis retailers link to infused products in their bio. 

 

This begs the question: What rules are cannabis creators and businesses breaking for Instagram to terminate their accounts? With all the evidence compiled, it seems like Instagram’s actual policy is: “No cannabis consumption allowed.” That would reflect the actual regulations that seem to be imposed on the cannabis community as a whole. 

 

Except…

 

It would be one thing if Instagram had rules across the board and regulations for the entire cannabis community on their platform like TikTok (which strictly prohibits any sort of content relating to cannabis). However, there are certainly accounts that are somehow unaffected by any sort of shadowban, censorship, or deletion. 

 

What do these accounts that seem to be unaffected have in common? 

 

Money. 

 

Money rules instagram

One of the biggest problems in this whole perplexing situation is the reports (within the cannabis industry) that Instagram employees take cash bribes to verify, reinstate, and remove shadow bans. There have been several points in my career that someone has told me: “You want to be verified? I can get it done for $10,000. I have a guy at Instagram.” Or: “You got deleted? I can get your account turned back on for $1000. I know a guy.” Is it simply the case that these larger brands backed by ample amounts of cash are able to finance favor with Instagram either above or below the table? Is the new standard for success in this rapidly growing industry that you must bribe those in power for a fair shot at marketing success? 

 


Why Instagram’s Current Enforcement Limits Social Equity in an Industry That Needs it

The cannabis industry is in a unique place and time because it is just getting its start (comparatively to what it will become). At the junction of a burgeoning industry, the golden age of social media, and the increasing understanding of diversity and equality needed in this country, the cannabis industry is more poised to create opportunities for minority business owners than any other. With social media marketing becoming standard for 92.1% of marketers of companies with more than 100 employees in 2022, one can confidently say that companies need social media marketing to be successful. The current bias of deletion and regulation on Instagram suggests that the only companies that will be allowed success on the platform are those who can pay to play. 

For small business owners who are shoe-stringing their whole operation, there usually isn’t some extra portion of budget available just to grease palms to get ahead. In my personal experience, especially in the cannabis industry, it’s the small businesses startups run by a diverse collective of people that actually put the proper amount of care into their products and services. I also believe that any small business owner or activist in the cannabis space will tell you how important it is for this whole process of cannabis legalization and distribution to be done the right way: With ethics and integrity that are unparalleled in any other industry. 

For these business owners, activists, and content creators, cannabis is more than a commodity to make a dollar. The people that Instagram is handing over success to on their platform, are the people who see cannabis as a means to financial success only, and don’t take into consideration the importance of the impact this plant can have on a society.

 


 

What Can We Do to Hold Instagram Accountable for Unjust Cannabis Censorship?

A new petition has been created which demands better regulation and policies from Instagram. This petition was created by Arend Richard, CEO of WeedTube (a cannabis friendly social media platform founded by censored content creators from YouTube), in hopes of attaining better regulations and policies regarding cannabis, from Instagram specifically. By attaining 1 million signatures the cannabis industry will show the social media giant that we will not go quietly and allow monopolies to take over our industry as well. The petition is addressed to Adam Mosseri, the “Head of Instagram”, as well as the rest of their Leadership Team.

The petition calls for updates to the regulations, as well as a suggested “roundtable” meeting with cannabis industry leaders to best navigate moving forward in a fair and equal way.
 

To help make the concerns of the cannabis community heard by Instagram, sign the petition here.

If you would like to go a step further, we have created a downloadable PDF that you can ask to distribute among local dispensaries. 

Download the PDF Flyer here.

Watch The WeedTube Channel elaborate on this situation in a video with Arend Richard here. 


Press related to our efforts: Forbes | Herb.co | Benzinga | Green Entrepenuer | PRNewsWire | Yahoo FinanceBusiness Insider | Market Watch | AP News | The Street | KTLA | Cannabis Business Executive | Blunt Network | Morning Star 

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Instagram Censors Cannabis Content (and How To Fight Back)

By The WeedTube

WeedTube was launched on March 1st of 2018 by a community of deleted content creators. As we continue to grow, WeedTube strives to provide all services with integrity. Our mission is to provide for the community, and provide a change in perception of cannabis around the world. We are working hard to consistently create a platform that services our community in the best ways possible.

12 Comments
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ivykilla 4 months ago
Solution... Weedstagram
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stoneyspike 4 months ago
They can’t ignore us forever! Everyone go sign the petition please ?
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ArendRichard 3 months ago
Let’s show the world what the cannabis community can do!
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provisional_air 3 months ago
Let’s go!!! ?
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BobsBombBuds 3 months ago
They delete me every time I get over 10,000 followers and been saying we need to do something about the discrimination against the cannabis community on their platform and other social medias like FB.
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