As you may know, we have had an ongoing issue with Facebook regarding the systematic blocking of any and all Wholly Hemp ads and promoted posts. For months now we have been limited in what we can post due to Facebook’s censors continually flagging our page as a promoter of "drugs" and never responding to our questions on how to resolve this issue. Well just this morning we received a strongly worded email from Facebook threatening to entirely deactivate and freeze our Facebook page if we do not remove ALL the drug content immediately.
So what’s the problem? We sell hemp soap, not drugs.
This all started over a year ago when Facebook and Bing blocked us for advertising "drug content" even though all we sell is hemp skin care. Now, at first we were understanding. Hemp, cannabis, etc; it can get somewhat confusing to the uninitiated and it should be as simple as to call them up and show them that we truly are just a skin care company. But boy that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. First, Facebook has no phone number. Second, we have been constantly emailing Facebook for over a year now intending to resolve this issue with no response.
We recently had an issue with Facebook blocking our posts and continuing to charge our checking account for ads that they themselves determined were for "drugs" and were subsequently blocked (the ads in question were for a bar of lavender scented soap and a jar of rose scented lotion).
Cut to this morning when we received this email from Facebook:
Facebook has escalated the issue and is now threatening to completely delete our account if we do not remove the perceived "drug content." That’s easier said than done considering there is not a lick of drug content, paraphernalia, or even discussion. We are a hemp skin care company, not your corner drug dealer. So Facebook has just posed us with an ultimatum that is impossible to meet: we cannot remove the perceived "drug content" because simply put, there is none. When this was brought to the attention of Facebook, their response was simply to "remove the drug content." It’s cyclical logic and it will ultimately lead to us losing access to our Facebook page and losing the ability to communicate freely and openly with our loyal customers.
We need your help. Facebook has proven time and time again that they will not listen to us. They have consistently blocked our posts for hemp soap/lotion/lip balm/etc. yet have now come to us saying they will delete us entirely if we do not remove this "drug content." We’ve gone so far as to rename, re-categorize, and in some cases, entirely discontinue products with the hopes of appeasing Facebook’s censors, all to no avail. Facebook is systematically preventing us from getting the word out about our products and in that regard has significantly hindered our abilities to grow as a socially conscious and globally just establishment.
So when someone says to you that the proof of industrial hemp’s lack of market competitiveness is in the fact that there aren’t many hemp retailers, remind them that us hemp retailers are not competing in a free market. Every step of the way we are demonized as supposed drug dealers and pot peddlers. Rather than distributing our products we have to first prove they aren’t drugs, and once we do that, the discussion has turned to "is it drugs or not" rather than a discussion on the comparative benefits of the product. Our products are delegitimized as nothing more than crunchy hippie accouterments, and our businesses are quieted and ultimately quashed by much larger and more influential corporations.
We have 24 hours before Facebook shuts us down. In that time we need to spread the word about how in 2013, with countless states across the nation pushing for legal hemp production, Facebook is continuing to squelch the voices of American small business owners simply trying to get by in today’s economy.
We’ve exhausted all other avenues of communication with Facebook and for that reason we are asking you to help us. If nothing is done by this time tomorrow, you will no longer be able to find us on Facebook. Not because we did anything wrong. Not because we failed to pay bills. Not even because we made a rude remark about Mark Zuckerberg. But because we sell hemp soap. Not drugs, not even Bic lighters, but soap.
We’ve got 24 hours. In that time, I ask you to please share this story with your friends and family. At this point, the issue is out of my hands. Facebook will do what they wish and since I am nothing more than a young business owner (who isn’t as dashing as Mark Zuckerberg... well it was worth a try), there is not much more I can do to convince Facebook of my innocence.
FOLLOW UP EDIT: Thanks to all your comments and emails to Facebook, the company has been gracious enough to allow us to keep our fan page however they have stood firm in their decision to block us from promoting our page in any way. So while you can still find us on Facebook, what we post to our followers is heavily censored and subject to immediate arbitrary removal.
As the song goes, "What a long strange trip it's been; but sometimes your cards ain't worth a dime if you don't lay 'em down."
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support.
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