The New Year will bring some new changes in the vaporizer industry, and one of those changes could have a huge impact. Instagram and Facebook announced this week that they would begin removing posts that promote vaping and tobacco. According to an Instagram spokesperson, the social media giants will begin removing these posts “in the coming weeks.”
Additionally, the social media platforms will prevent influencers from promoting weapons products. Facebook has prevented the advertisement of these products for a while. The way around it was for individual influencers without company profiles to post about products, and companies would promote the posts. This strategy would put a lot of eyeballs on posts that otherwise wouldn’t be seen nearly as much.
This workaround will no longer be available, as this is the first time that Facebook and Instagram are placing restrictions on the branded content of individual users. It is unclear if there will be any restrictions placed on all cannabis products, and how much focus will be paid to vapes that consumers buy specifically to vape cannabis. The IG and FB spokesperson’s statement seems to focus mainly on tobacco e-cig products and weapons, but could expand further. When the social media platform’s new policy takes effect, “special restrictions” will also be placed on alcohol and dietary supplements.
In addition to the ban on influencer posts, the new policies from the social media platforms will also place limits on viewing content based on a user’s age. These restrictions are significant, and could have a huge impact on the vaporizer and cannabis industries.
Anti-tobacco groups, like the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, are applauding the user policy changes from Instagram and Facebook, and are calling for even more policy changes to prevent companies from advertising to children.
“Urgent policy change is needed from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to prevent tobacco companies from using social media to advertise their harmful products to young people around the world,” a spokesperson for the nonprofit said in a press release.
Anyone who has spent time online knows that you basically can’t hide things from the internet – and nothing really ever dies on the web. Banning posts of influencers likely won’t reduce the amount of vape-related illnesses, nor will it reduce the amount of underage people who use tobacco products. Instead of banning posts, there should be better information out there about the potential dangers of vaping using black market vapes, as well as the harmful effects that can come from using e-cigs. It will be interesting to see how the cannabis industry adapts to these changes in 2020 and beyond.