Big Brother Is Watching: Could Facebook Be Censoring Pro-Vape Articles?
With vapor becoming such a prevalent part of people’s lives today, you may have noticed that Facebook is remarkably free of any vapor oriented advertising or news. Why is that?
The reasons surrounding Facebook’s ban of vapor-related content seem to be unclear, and a bit inconsistent at best.
A Billion Lives
Earlier in 2016, a documentary film called A Billion Lives was released. The story examined a variety of topics related to smoking including FDA regulations, tobacco companies and the move toward a more vapor-ready society.
In an effort to promote the film, the marketing team took to social media for advertising. Astonishingly, the ads were blocked. Facebook later made a statement that they do not allow any ads promoting tobacco products.
The marketing film’s team fought back, arguing that their ads did not promote any products at all, and that they were trying to sell a film. Facebook eventually changed their decision and allowed the ads to run.
What Happened Next
Following that decision, several other films have been made about the vapor and tobacco industries. Facebook appears to have reverted back to their original take on the situation, blocking all ads for these films.
Currently, ads for tobacco products are banned across all social media platforms, as legislators try to keep tobacco out of the hands of young people, who flock to these sites in droves.
Alas, it seems almost counterintuitive that the people who are trying their hardest to educate the masses against tobacco – the vape industry – are also getting excluded, as vape ads are similarly not allowed on Facebook.
The Fight Goes On
Many in the vapor industry are fighting for their right to advertise on social media today. Their argument is that they are trying to help people quit smoking by switching to a better alternative.
Other smoking cessation campaigns are openly allowed to place ad campaigns on Facebook and other social media sites including the Quit Line, and nicotine patch manufacturers. Whether this fight is successful or not is yet to be seen, although there is guarded optimism within the vape community.
Perhaps the most distressing part of the current Facebook policy is not that it blocks vape advertisements outright. If the goal is to keep nicotine products out of the hands of minors, many vape manufacturers could accept this.
The problem lies in the fact that Facebook may also be blocking pro-vaping articles and news. Many of these articles are not advertisements at all, but rather informative pieces of news related to studies being conducted about the safety of vaping, vapor regulations and more.
With Facebook and Twitter representing a huge piece of the online marketing and information-spreading resources available to the world, this lock down on information is alarming. Indeed, it may be stopping people from quitting smoking because they do not know about alternatives.
Spread the Word
Many vape shops and vapor manufacturers have limited ability to fight back against this censorship. For the most part, they rely on vapers to visit their own webpages for information, and they depend greatly on word of mouth to get news around. However, the people who enjoy vaping do have the ability to overcome these challenges.
Since most of the general public does not pay to promote their posts, or to advertise on social media, they are free to share articles among themselves. They are free to discuss their favorite products and brands at will. Facebook may or may not be keeping vapor news from appearing in your feed by itself, but you still have the ability to share your favorite blogs and news releases with those in your circle.
At VaporFi, we recognize that there is still quite a bit of confusion about Facebook’s policies overall.
While a ban on tobacco ads is generally agreeable to vapers, the bigger issue is that vapor products are NOT the same as tobacco, and the public needs to understand the difference.
At VaporFi, we encourage you – and vapers everywhere – to do your part by continuing to keep people in your circle informed by sharing positive information about vaping. You can help explain the differences to those who don’t yet know, and you can encourage people to go see one of the many documentaries that have come out this year on the topic.
Gianna Del Monte is the Brand Manager at VaporFi. She has been in the vaping industry since June 2015 and has extensive experience in successfully managing and marketing a variety of new vapor product launches. Originally from New Jersey, Gianna has lived in the Miami area for the last 5 years.