Speaking Out: Why Does Facebook Blanket Ban Hemp?
Maxine shares the devastating impact of Facebook banning your business overnight due to a baffling community standard she’d never even heard of.
Let me set the scene: It was 2019 on the brink of the pandemic in Australia.
At Hemp Collective, we were busy harvesting hemp, showcasing our hemp body care products and fulfilling orders.
Like many modern businesses, the social media giant was a huge source of revenue for us. I’d just finished studying a two-year diploma in social media marketing, using Facebook to reach genuinely interested buyers. Business was booming.
Then one day, I logged onto my Facebook account and everything was gone. Our Hemp Collective business account and even my personal account – gone.
My first thought was that I had been hacked.
But it wasn’t a hacker. It was Facebook.
As I dove deeper into the cause, I discovered so many legal, licensed and ethical hemp brands that were unfairly banned by the social media giant. In America, hemp brands were even taking Facebook to court over their unfair guidelines.
It was a powerless feeling. Being locked out of your own business and not being able to do anything about it.
So, Why Does Facebook Silence Hemp?
Hemp has been legal in Australia since 2008, followed by the US in 2018.
But Facebook doesn’t seem to give two hoots.
Their platform lumps the hemp plant into the same category as marijuana, with the community guidelines stating “to encourage safety and compliance with common legal restrictions, we prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers, and retailers to purchase, sell or trade non-medical drugs, pharmaceutical drugs and marijuana.”
This black and white standard is failing to see the 50 shades of grey in between. Hemp and marijuana are both from the Cannabis Sativa family, but they’re wildly different in their effects.
Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC (the stuff that makes you high) by dry weight, which is a minuscule amount, and nowhere near enough to experience any psychoactive effects.
Not only that, few plants on the planet offer so much. Hemp is incredibly good for the planet – being used to create biofuel, regenerate soil, suck in CO2 and provide an eco-friendly building material. And when it comes to health benefits, hemp is second to none. Those teeny, tiny seeds are filled with protein, fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. They also contain the ideal ratio of Omega 6 and 3 (3:1) which can reduce inflammation, boost immunity and promote heart health.
The benefits of hemp go on.
So, Where Are We Now?
At Hemp Collective, being removed from the leading social media platform had a devastating impact on business, and it’s taken us a year to get back on track.
We struggled to find people to help us reclaim what we lost, as often it’s easier to avoid hemp than fight for it.
I’ve finally regained the courage to jump back on my personal Facebook, and I’ve also recreated the Hemp Collective page (with some heavy boundaries). Yep, our business is still not allowed to do paid posts or even connect with our Instagram account.
So yes, we’re back on Facebook. But we feel as though we’ve been put in the naughty corner – when we’re only trying to do good for people and the planet.
Today, we’re shifting our focus to platforms where we can continue to showcase our brand – without the looming threat of being silenced.
We’ve focussed on boosting our Google ranking, growing our email list, owning our content and building connections with other local businesses. We’re also thrilled to be starting a podcast in late 2021 – name of podcast with link.
So I urge you, always be hypercritical of the one-sided algorithm you experience on social media platforms. It’s bruised our business and so many others, but we continue to fight for hemp.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our amazing community for all the support you’ve given us over the years. Algorithms aside, it’s thanks to you we’re able to continue sharing our hemp body care and pet care products.
But quite frankly? We’d love to have you on our mailing list… Far away from the clutches of social media giants.