Facebook recently implemented a block on marijuana-related page searches. For most people, typing “marijuana” or “cannabis” into the search bar shows users a message saying, “We couldn’t find anything for marijuana.” Even if users search a legal marijuana business’s page by its name, it often won’t come up in a search.
To get to these pages, users will have to use the page URL or attempt to access it by going to the “Pages” tab, Reason reports. The tactic that Facebook is now using is called “shadow banning.” The marijuana-related pages still exist, but Facebook just doesn’t let users find them as easily as users can find other industry businesses’ pages.
Some promotions and even valid news articles are blocked for just mentioning marijuana and/or cannabis. To get the content back into a user’s view, it’s a pretty frustrating appeals process. Much of the content doesn’t even actually violate the terms of service.
Even the California Bureau of Cannabis Control’s page has been blocked from appearing in searches. The CBCC is the state’s regulatory office for its legal marijuana industry.
Facebook is not offering much in the way of answers for any inquiries regarding the shadow banning process.
Facebook can, however, use its own discretion when it comes to determining what types of content it will allow. It seems that Facebook is more on the side of prohibition than allowing these companies that operate legally to be visible.
Users may need to begin visiting businesses’ Facebook pages directly instead of via search.