Says one sex educator: “By silencing sex-positive brands, a lot of people are unable to see the positive side of their sexuality and forming meaningful relationships.”
Social media platforms have held a long-running, contentious relationship with both cannabis and sex workers despite their growing interest in recent years.
Both can be found on social platforms from Facebook to TikTok, LinkedIn and beyond. Often cannabis brands, influencers and sex workers can be found doing typical brand work — pitching products, highlighting services, and serving helpful information. The public may be warming to the content, but social media platforms continue to maintain their distance through the use of shadowbans or full-on account deletions. The occurrence is so common that many in both spaces have backup accounts that tout their previous total followers before being de-platformed. Why Does Social Media Ban Sex And Cannabis? Sources contend that the bans stem from a mix of good legislation gone wrong, long-held societal stigmas and/or grey areas surrounding content rules.
“Since cannabis is illegal at the federal level, businesses operating in the industry can easily violate Facebook’s terms of services for content published on company’s profiles,” explained Dustin Iannotti, founder and creative director of Artisans on Fire (AoF), a Las Vegas-based agency for grey market brands.
Ashley Manta is a popular cannabis and sexual wellness writer and speaker. Her work includes the book Merry Jane’s The CBD Solution: Sex, as well as brand ambassador roles for sex tech brand Sybian and cannabis-wellness line Foria. She agrees that the law plays a substantial part in the ban. Manta attributes the blame on two 2018 bills: The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA).
Since its passage, Manta and others have contended that the bill’s intention to curb sex trafficking is actually thwarting legal means of marketing and revenue generation.
“The result has been that payment processors, so by extension social media companies, have massively cracked down on any sexuality-related language or content on their sites,” said Manta. She added that major processors like Visa and MasterCard have threatened to pull services to sex and cannabis ventures, leaving companies without a way of generating funds.
Dainis Graveris, a certified sex educator and relationship expert for SexualAlpha, points the blame at stigmas towards sex and sexuality. He believes that such stigmas further laws and platform rules restrict important matters like domestic violence, sexual assault and suicide. Instead of protecting the public, Graveris says the efforts stifle discourse that could better educate the masses.
“By silencing sex-positive brands, a lot of people are unable to see the positive side of their sexuality and forming meaningful relationships,” said Graveris. The Impact On Cannabis And Sex Businesses Sexual wellness and cannabis brands feel the brunt of the social media restrictions, even when operating in legalized sectors.
Wendy Strgar, author and founder and CEO of sexual health and female hygiene brand Good Clean Love, says her company is affected by social media bans. The company, which retails to major suppliers including Target, Whole Foods and CVS, often faces issues when posting ads on social media.