For marketer Colin Bambury, there is no bigger headache than Instagram’s seemingly low tolerance for the marijuana industry – and the popular photo-sharing app’s penchant for deactivating or shuttering marijuana-related accounts.
“This is one of the biggest pain points in my life,” he said.
Since 2016, British Columbia-based Bambury has worked with brands such as the California-based cannabis advertising platform Weedmaps, rapper Wiz Khalifa’s Khalifa Kush Enterprises (KKE) and its short-lived entry into the Canadian market as well as Canada’s Supreme Cannabis.
Some of the brands Bambury has worked with boast Instagram followings as high as 200,000 followers.
Yet countless times, accounts Bambury was managing have been flagged for content violations.
Alternatively, Instagram has deactivated accounts for breaching the social media platform’s terms of service or for a user complaint – even when Bambury is certain he’s following the rules.
Considering Instagram has a billion monthly users, such disruptions can have mild to massive implications for marketers, from breaking the line of communication with clients and leads to undermining crucial targets, including revenue or event attendee numbers.
Bambury has gone through it so many times, he started to get requests for help from a number of friends and acquaintances, so he wrote a guide for his website, Adcann, on how to restore an account.
But even though he has experienced deactivation firsthand plenty of times, he and many other marketers in regulated marijuana industries across North America complain that Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – is cracking down harder than ever before.
“Before, if (a cannabis brand) got deleted, it was a big deal,” Bambury said. “Everyone rallied around them and tried to help them come back.
“And now, everyone I know basically in the cannabis industry has had an account deleted at some point.”
The platform’s terms of service are clear: No brand can sell or promote sales of drugs on their page.
But many cannabis marketers who insist they are following the rules, as well as many non-cannabis-selling entities – from accessories and ancillary firms to advocacy and equity groups – complain that even their accounts are being deactivated more often.
Published: August 23, 2021
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News