TwoFace-Book: Facebook Pot Ads : Marijuana Leaf Banned From Ad "Just Say Now"
Facebook Says No To Pro-Legalization Just Say Now Campaign
By Steve Elliott in Culture, News
Tuesday, Aug. 24 2010 @ 10:57AM
Facebook has banned the ads of anti-prohibition group Just Say Now, a campaign for marijuana legalization. Just Say Now ran ads that showed their logo, which uses a marijuana leaf. Despite the ad running more than 38 million times, Facebook has flip-flopped and starting censoring the ads, claiming they promote "tobacco products."
"In a nutshell, they allowed us to serve our ads for 10 days (38 million impressions), then suddenly reversed their approval and told us we could no longer show the image of a marijuana leaf," said Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake and the Just Say Now advisory board.
"They said they decided to reclassify it as similar to tobacco, but we said we weren't trying to encourage people to smoke marijuana, we were supporting a change in U.S. drug policy," Hamsher said, reports Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing.
"Facebook is censoring marijuana," said Michael Whitney of Firedoglake, a major sponsor of the Just Say Now campaign.
"We're fighting back against Facebook's censorship with a massive campaign to call out the social networking site," Whitney said.
"Sign our petition to Facebook to protest censoring marijuana as political speech," Whitney said. "We'll send the petition to Facebook and call attention to the popular support for opening a discussion about our country's failed drug policies.
Andrew Noyes, a spokesman for Facebook, claimed the problem is the pot leaf featured in the ads, reports Ryan Grim at the Huffington Post.
"It would be fine to note that you were informed by Facebook that the image in question was no long[er] acceptable for use in Facebook ads," Noyes told Just Say Now in an email to the group.
"The image of a pot leaf is classified with all smoking products and therefore is not acceptable under our policies," Noyes said.
Two of the ads in question read "End the war on marijuana," asking Facebook users to "Sign the petition to President Obama to support states' rights to legalize marijuana."
Another ad says "Legalize marijuana" and "It's time to Just Say Now to marijuana legalization. Sign up to show your support."
All three ads use variations of the Just Say Now logo with a marijuana leaf.
"We're not running ads encouraging Facebook users to smoke pot, tobacco, or to drink alcohol," Whitney said. "We are clearly advocating for a political issue that will be voted on in Facebook's home state in less than three months."
"If we can't use the most recognizable image to organize supporters in favor of marijuana legalization, it's essentially like being banned from showing our candidate's face in an election," Whitney said.
"Facebook's censorship of this political issue only advances the failed drug policies of our country by blocking an open discussion of these critical issues," Whitney said. "Marijuana legalization is on the move, but Facebook wants to block the issue."
"If Facebook censorship policies continue to reflect those of our government by suppressing freedom of speech then they won't have to wait until Election Day to be voted obsolete," said Jordan Marks of the Young America's Foundation and a member of the Just Say Now advisory board.
Aaron Houston, executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and also a Just Say Now board member, echoed those sentiments.
"Facebook's business will suffer if they don't reverse this decision," Houston said.
"We're way beyond reefer madness and censorship," Houston said. "Facebook should get with the times."
Fight back against Facebook's censorship: Sign the petition to Facebook to stop censoring marijuana as political speech!
Facebook Pot Ads: Marijuana Leaf Banned From Ad
Facebook is under scrutiny after ads for pot legalization have been removed. The ads featured an actual pot leaf and after running for about a week, the company decided that the image featured illegal content and the leaf cannot appear in advertisements.
The pot legalization group Just Say Now ran the ads in support of the petition for President Obama to support states’ rights to legalize marijuana.
“We’re not allowed to show the image of the candidate that we are advancing,” said Michael Whitney, with Firedoglake.com, “that’s why we’re calling out Facebook for this really backwards decision.”
A Facebook rep told Just Say Now, “The image of a pot leaf is classified with all smoking products and therefore is not acceptable under our policies.”
So 1- it sounds like they cant make up their mind and stick to a reason for the ban and 2- they let the ads run a week before taking them down, which makes me think too many complaints led to the ban. I don’t think that their premium advertisers want to be clustered next to a pot legalization ad.
The executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy thinks that it was a poor move on Facebooks part.
“Their business will suffer if they don’t reverse this decision. We’re way beyond reefer madness and censorship. Facebook should get with the times.”
Meanwhile, several conservative and liberal blogs and news sources are running the ad including “The Nation, The New Republic, Human Events, Red State, Antiwar, Reason, Drug War Rant, Stop The Drug War, Daily Paul, Lew Rockwell, The Young Turks (see their video below), MyDD, AmericaBlog, Pam’s House Blend and Raw Story.”
So what do you think? Is Facebook being ridiculous? Or are you glad they took the ads down? Tell me in the comments below!