Seven dispensaries of medical marijuana have filed a suit against Facebook, accusing it of tampering with their operations on the social media giant’s platform. Allegedly, Facebook placed dispensaries’ profiles in what they call “Facebook Jail,” on account of them posting about their business affairs.
Facebook“Facebook Jail” is a term for when a profile becomes temporarily disabled, usually because of supposed violations of site rules. An account in this jail can knock thousands of dollars out of a business’s pocket. These dispensaries maintain that Facebook does not seem to treat companies from California, Washington, or Colorado the same way.
The cannabis companies’ intent is to attain a court order to forbid Facebook from censoring their pages. They also aim to receive over $75,000 in damages under the label of economic harm in addition to attorney fees. Most businesses use Facebook to reach a wider audience, and by blocking their accounts, Facebook can significantly curtail their revenues.
The first to take legal action was Danna Malone, owner of Ye Olde Apothecary Shoppe. The Shoppe sued Facebook’s CEO, Sheryl Sandberg (COO), and Peter Thiel, the site’s executive team member. Soon afterward, on July 18, six more plaintiffs joined the suit.
That isn’t the first incident of its kind to occur on the social media platform. There have been scores of complaints from medicinal marijuana companies about Facebook’s conduct, and all claim to have suffered the same kind of trouble. Even platforms like Instagram have recently displayed similar actions.
Facebook’s policies state that they forbid any kind of advertising that displays actual or implied smoking of cannabis, whether for recreational or medicinal ends.
Back in October, Facebook lifted a block it had placed on any cannabis-or-marijuana-related searches on its website. The block (which had been in effect for several months) existed to prevent pot dealers from operating on the platform. As a result, many legal marijuana-distributing establishments could not be reached on Facebook.