It seems that Facebook is starting to consider the actual zeitgeist, as well as current local legalization of cannabis as the Telegraph heard when attending an internal discussion about moderation policy.
We all know that Facebook isn’t the best place to promote marijuana, and the generally rather hostile towards new platform has a strictly legal attitude to marijuana and sales. But that may be changing as the Telegraph’s Laurence Dodds reported.
“Our policies at the moment do not allow for the sale of marijuana on the platform”
"We want to consider whether we can loosen this restriction, especially in relation to medical marijuana, legal marijuana and brick and mortar stores."
— Internal Facebook presentation on moderation policy
Facebook isn’t considering loosening up the rules on advertising but only on posts. Similar to how it has changed its policy on tobacco sales in posts, the centralized platform is considering the roll-out of an age filter for content its AI recognizes as drugs and sales of such.
It is important to keep in mind that this is merely an internal discussion so far and not yet a decided fact. The Telegraph even shared one slide of FB’s possible future moderation policy.
The platform is aware that doing such may result in pushback in not legalized locations.
"Since marijuana faces different legal and social restrictions across the globe, this may be operationally challenging for us"
"[We] may encounter regional pushback in those areas of the world where the law or [society] views marijuana negatively."
While this may be interesting for smaller merchants who promote, and try to sell, on FB generally FB’s monetization strategy has proven rather harmful to reach and engagement. Without outright allowing advertising we do not see much progress in the shift in moderation policy, at best slightly less of a headache for page operators and an inbound CBD promotion flux on the platform. Not that we aren’t already seeing that anyway.
Maybe this shift in moderation policy will actually result in the age filter for tobacco products finally being rolled out. But I can totally imagine that at the same time the roll out may include a new form of red tape for pages, and businesses to become verified first, as we’ve previously seen happen to many page operators too.
The discussion revolved around sales content in posts. No mention was made about possibly allowing businesses on the marketplace, thus that still seems to stay off-topic.
Facebook wants your data, and pretty much any excuse to obtain more data is good. Even borderline legit ones like obtaining data via operating a free VPN. Facebook could easily roll out the new policy with pretty much perfect targeting to allow content only in legalized areas in subsequently loosen up the limitations on actually selling for [verified] businesses. It has all the data on its users required to do such.
Since everything is merely an internal discussion for now, and probably also strategically had an invited reporter present, we shouldn’t yet bother too much about this. Inviting the Telegraph may be merely about obtaining brownie points after all the recent leaks in the guardian and other outlets. Leaks which seem to never end. And, to be honest, long may they continue and may FB and its ilk continue to deplatform. They do a great job at indirectly promoting decentralization.