Big Tech Takes Strong Stance Against Cannabis

Big Tech Takes Strong Stance Against Cannabis

There was a time when YouTube was the go-to resource for questions about cannabis, product reviews, and more. But now, marijuana-related videos seem to be disappearing without reason. So, the question remains: Why is this content being banned?

The boom of legal and recreational cannabis signaled an opportunity for entrepreneurs of all types. One of the most notable groups, however, has been content producers and marketers, namely YouTubers and social media activists and personalities. These are the people who explore new products, investigate newer cannabis technologies, answer questions common among novice cannabis users, and much more.

For many of these channels and outlets, content views quickly surpassed one million impressions — a great sign for anyone in the social media business. But all of a sudden, channels were suspended and content removed without cause.

Searching for a Reason

Social media giant Facebook and tech powerhouse Google both have strong rules banning cannabis advertising. What exactly constitutes advertising, however, seems to be fairly open to interpretation. Facebook has stated that their advertising review consists of a combination of human and algorithm assessment, and the results seem to be clear — if it appears you are trying to actively sell cannabis, your content will be outlawed.

On YouTube, however, content review seems to be murky. Cannabis accounts are being removed entirely immediately and without cause. For many business owners, this represents the total loss of an online presence and the hard work taken to build significant followings. What makes these account suspensions even more frustrating is that the content standards seems to be applied randomly and inconsistently.

A Matter of Money

While it may not be easy to agree with Facebook and Google’s approach to cannabis advertising, there at least appears to be a method to it: Cannabis is still illegal under federal law, so if your content is trying to sell cannabis, you’re out of luck. A possible explanation for YouTube’s deals with the almighty dollar.

YouTube can’t make ad revenue off of cannabis videos. Many major corporations feel their brands are misrepresented when played before, during, or after a cannabis-related video, so they don’t pay for the ads.

It may not come as a surprise that ad revenue is guiding YouTube’s stance on marijuana, but whether this approach holds up will become apparent over time.