WARNING Facebook and Instagram are blacklisting Vaping Pages; Freeman Vape Juice Page deleted without any right to appeal - the nightmare begins.
Facebook is changing the rules.
Last week we woke up with our page unpublished, with no right to appeal it. Even my account got disabled, and I had to recover it somehow. Luckily I got it back; unfortunately, the Freeman Vape Juice page didn't make it. We lost our community of 2,500 people build over the last three years. Real people, our fans, and supporters went in an instant.
It is terrifying to witness how easily injustice can take place when you're on the losing side.
We see the very first wave of attacks on our industry, now taken into the online space. It seems like this is the beginning of the nightmare unfolding as we get closer to the 21st of April; it will be the end of our industry. Without doubt.
What could this mean for the future? Sure, Facebook banning a page or two, removing content, and deleting groups here and there is, to say the least, unpleasant. In my eyes, this is just the very start of what is to come - a complete obliteration.
Moving forward, we will experience more and more restrictions, without any real open dialogue to find a middle ground. When our page got taken down, the thing that shocked me the most was that we couldn't even submit an appeal to disagree with the decision.
From unpublished to deleted is a long leap. I might say.
We know that Facebook and Instagram had banned paid tobacco-related advertisements a long time ago. Including vaping products, which in their eyes fall under the same category. Why? Don't ask me. There have been tons of advocates fighting to remove vaping products from the tobacco listing without any real success. Given we see the results of this is how we seen on these big platforms today.
Disposable, not even worthy of an appeal.
Through the years, even if we couldn't use Facebook Ads, we could run our pages. And these platforms added restrictions on what influencers and brands can advertise, especially on the format.
In 2019 Facebook (FB) and Instagram (IG) unveiled a new policy intended to prohibit content and sales related to tobacco, including e-cigarettes, and restrict such content related to alcohol products.
The policy prohibits all private gifting, sales, transfers, and trades of any alcohol or tobacco products on either platform. Any posted content from brands relating to the transfer or sale of these items was forbidden to adults 18 or older.
In the same category fell the requirement to include in each post the Warning sign. Knowing that the warning label is an industry-standard and outside the online environment, we had complied ever since the first time this announcement came out.
I can even show you a picture from our back-end, from the same day our page got taken out. Which will make this seem even more suspicious.
The real issue is that vaping is a proven method that helps adults quit smoking. With all these restrictions and now a complete blacklisting, it will become impossible for companies to show up and connect with the people that need their products the most.
I'm writing this without any intention to scare anybody off, but rather to share our experience. We went through this reality in the last few days, and if Facebook had had the decency to open a conversation with us, it would've been a whole different story. But here we are.
I've talked with many group owners who went through the same situation, with their groups deleted without any notice—dismissing all the hard work that went into building their communities.
It seems like this is the end of the ride. If you had a similar experience, please do leave a comment. I've had it with these guys at Facebook.