in a brand new policy Facebook unveiled on Wednesday which will restrict sales and limit content related to alcohol and tobacco products, including eLiquids and vapes. The new policy will also prohibit all private sales, trades, transfers and even gifting of alcohol or tobacco related products on Facebook and Instagram.
Apparently according to this new policy which we would like to take a second and highlight that while this is in fact a policy for Facebook, they have not yet posted any public facing guidelines as to how to comply with this new policy. Much like any of these other tech giant jerks they've made it publicly known they have a position on this issues, but it's all internal as to what the actual limits are, and we the humble peasants that create the data for their platforms are apparently too stupid to understand them.
The new policy has already gone into effect and will also apply to any Facebook groups created to sell alcohol or tobacco products, according to a spokeswoman. Facebook says it is reaching out to group administrators to alert them of the changes, but the reality is more than likely they'll just start age gating pages and groups, if not outright removing them.
They already have policies already prohibit the sale of tobacco and alcohol in Facebook Marketplace, so what's the news here? Well the platform is extending its ban to "organic content" which is just a buzzword for regular posts from the platforms users. Hence the rant about the company having a policy with no public facing rules available; how exactly is the average user of a platform supposed to know how to comply with whatever rule set the platform has established if the company don't show them the rules?
Facebook will "use a combination of technology, human review and reports from our community to find and remove any content that violates these policies," according to a spokeswoman. Of course Facebook and Instagram users, including those under 18, are still free to post other content related to tobacco and vape products, but it's anybody's guess as to if they will have that content removed or if it will impact their ability to use the platform.
Under this new and already in place policy, influencers who are paid to promote products will still be allowed to post content related to tobacco and vape products, but paradoxically those particular posts will not have to be age restricted, according to that same spokeswoman.
She emphasized of course that the company is considering possible changes to its influencer policy and is working with industry and regulatory bodies on potential revisions, because you know, money.
I don't know about you but I'm getting a whole lot of "rules for thee but not for me" vibes from this new policy. Facebook relies on it's users for their data, which literally allows the platform to create wealth for itself; so this could be the beginning of a long drawn out end for the platform as this slippery slope will eventually lead to a safespace hugbox of content nobody but a tiny minority will be interested in paying attention to. What do you think? Is this hyperbolic reactionary policy because of the vape hysteria or is it actually just common sense content policy?