Facebook is facing an open lawsuit over their stance on not allowing users to post ads mentioning, advertising or promoting products associated or featuring CBD (Cannabidiol) or ingestible hemp. The lawsuit asserts Facebook is taking part in common law fraud and deceptive ad practices.
Felicia Palmer who is the founder of hip-hop news website sohh.com has recently filed the lawsuit against Facebook. Palmer used Facebook to promote her online summit called Cannaramic, which was held in May this year. Part of the promotion included a post about CBD and Facebook accepted money from Palmer to extend the reach of these posts.
However, Facebook didn’t show the ads to the users Palmer wanted to reach and then disabled her whole advertising account. In a statement, Facebook said the ad was disabled because “we don’t allow ads that promote illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs.”
Facebook is currently recognizing that CBD is a drug, however, it is arguably not the case. Short for cannabidiol, CBD doesn’t get you high or intoxicated. This is due to it not containing the psychoactive molecule THC.
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Felicia Palmer is being represented for free by the executive director of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), David Holland. The lawsuit is open for other plaintiffs to join in.
The Supreme Court in the 2017 Packingham v. North Carolina case, indicated that Social Media in a general sense, especially Facebook, “have arisen to hold a position comparable to that of the traditional public forum.” Therefore, despite being a private company, Facebook is now considered as part of the public square.
When speaking about the lawsuit, Holland explained that there is a clear “pattern of censorship and suppression of information and content pertaining to legal uses of cannabis across Facebook’s platform as well as that of the popular social media app, Instagram, also owned by Facebook.”
The lawsuit document states that:
“Such practices engaged in by Facebook have resulted in economic loss, censorship, and prevention of the dissemination over the Facebook platform by Plaintiffs of critical information pertaining to cannabis and matters of public health, scientific research and government policy which are important to the national interest.”