A Social Media Exodus Due to Big Tech Censorship? How Cannabis Brands Can Lead the Charge!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no WiFi lately, it turns out that Social Media Giants such as Facebook and Twitter are censoring people’s right to speak. Several high profile people have had their twitter accounts suspended and one that has sparked international debate was the account of Dr Robert Malone MD, who was one of the major attributors to the discovery and invention of mRNA vaccines and recently appeared on the wildly popular Joe Rogan Experience Podcast.
Now some of you might say things like, “Joe Rogan is a right wing conspiracy nut that shouldn’t be taken seriously”, and if that’s what you are thinking the odds are that you don’t actually watch the Joe Rogan Experience. While it’s true, like any human he may have some ideas that some people find outlandish, however – Joe Rogan is a very reasonable and logical person and if you watch just one of his podcasts, you’ll see the same. Most people’s problem with Joe Rogan stems from a smear campaign from mainstream media outlets that frame Rogan in a particular light.
This is because when it comes to ratings, JRE outperforms all of the mainstream shows and with a large following, Rogan has sway in the public now. However, unlike mainstream media – he doesn’t need to bow to corporate sponsors. He’s got an exclusive deal with Spotify who pretty much lets him do whatever he wants.
Irrespective of Rogan’s accomplishments, he is a major critic of mainstream politics, news, finance, etc. He isn’t afraid to ask the hard questions and having episodes that can last for hours – people receive a unique insight into the psyche of his guests. In the case of Dr Malone – someone who has been very outspoken against how the entire Covid Pandemic has been run, calling companies like Pfizer “criminal based solely on their history” – which is true.
Of course, if you look at the major sponsor of the mainstream media news tank – Pfizer – there has been a significant backlash against JRE and Dr. Malone, which culminated in Malone’s Twitter account being suspended days before his scheduled appearance on JRE Podcast. Not to mention that Youtube removed the full podcast episode featuring the doctor as well.
A day after the interview, Joe Rogan tweeted that he’ll also be opening up an account on Gettr, an alternative to Twitter where allegedly “free speech is respected”. The people at Gab don’t feel that this is true, but irrespective of the feuds of social media platforms – millions of people (including me) opened up an account on Gettr within hours of Rogan’s tweet.
While there hasn’t been platform alternatives to the main Social Media Monsters (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) – sites like Minds.com, Gab, and Gettr have been gaining traction in a world where big Tech seemingly have the power to censor whatever speech they don’t like or that doesn’t “gel” with the mainstream narrative.
Society is experiencing what happened to the Cannabis Industry
The cannabis industry is far too familiar with censorship. Even us here at Cannabis.net have felt Youtube purges, and had our accounts closed or frozen since we talk about weed. Cannabis companies cannot use the same advertising as other businesses. A cannabis company typically need to take several extra steps to market their stuff to the public.
These big tech businesses like the attention cannabis brings to their platform, but since they don’t want to be on the “wrong end of the gaze of Johnny law” – they enforce drug standards that are in compliance with the law. This means that cannabis is treated like a Schedule I drug and all types of promotion could be seen as a liability.
While it’s fair that a private company wishes to protect themselves from such prosecutions, the fact that they are censoring and shadowbanning accounts that they deem “controversial” has sparked a major exodus from the mainstream to these alternative channels.
If businesses within the cannabis industry were to help lead the charge for the exodus, they would most probably be able to build up communities where they have more influence over their subscribers. For example, you may have a million followers on your Facebook page, but can only reach less than 10% of them organically due to Facebook’s algorithms. They want you to spend on ad dollars, and therefore even with a large following you don’t reach the majority of your followers.
Therefore, these new alternative platforms provide a unique opportunity to have a better connection with your tribe. These alternative companies, such a Minds, gives the user the option to filter their feed according to their own preferences. If you can provide the right kind of social media experience – this means that you can have a far more direct connection between your end user and your brand.
Facebook and Twitter will continue to fight for dominance, however, every time they censor someone for saying something they didn’t like, or every time they push a narrative that seems to be promoting certain corporate interests over the public good. However, all of this flexing of authority will only continue to drive people to find alternatives. Things like Telegram and Discord have already grown in popularity over the years and these trends will only continue to become more prevalent.
Ultimately, cannabis brands should always try to “own their audience” whether it’s by getting their phone number or their emails – this is just good marketing practices. However, seeing that there is a mass exodus on the horizon – perhaps preparing the grounds and promoting these alternative social media platforms is a smart move. Considering that cannabis is so popular and that stoners are intrinsically “anti-the-man”, you’d definitely gain some “stoner points” which could reflect positively in your revenue.
If you’re pro cannabis, you’re probably pro freedom…and if you also don’t like people censoring unpopular speech, then perhaps it’s time we all start posting a bit more on these alternative spaces. I don’t know about you, but I stopped having as much fun on Twitter seeing that everything is charged with a degree of toxicity.