The owners and employees of at least six retail cannabis shops in Alaska claim that within the last week Facebook has either deleted or taken down their pages, leaving them with one less advertising option, according to an Alaska Dispatch News report.
The affected businesses include Arctic Herbery, Enlighten Alaska, Frozen Budz, Pakalolo Supply Co., Dankorage, and Alaska Fireweed.
Bryant Thorp, the owner of Anchorage’s Arctic Herbery, said the social media platform represented “almost all” of the shop’s advertising and that he has had issued with the page for a few months. Since the shutdown on Friday or Saturday, Thorp has focused on building his Twitter and Instagram following; however Instagram is owned by the social media giant.
Ruchika Budhraja, a spokeswoman for Facebook, said that the company has community standards that outline what is, and isn’t, permitted on the site and “anyone can report content…if they think it violates standards” and those reports are reviewed to determine if there was a violation.
Under the “regulated goods” section of those standards, “marijuana” is among the items listed as prohibited.
Oddly, the pages went dark around the same time Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg visited Alaska for the Fourth of July weekend.
Rich Beezley, chief operating officer at AK Frozen Budz, whose Facebook page was unaffected by the weekend shutdown but has been targeted four times in the past, called it “a weird coincidence” and speculated that his page might have been saved because the shop was closed for the holiday and the Facebook page wasn’t active.
Budhraja said she “wouldn’t think” the shutdown and Zuckerberg’s visit are tied.
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