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Facebook has been blocking cannabis-related pages from showing up in its users’ search results, but last week, the social media giant announced that it will make the verified pages of cannabis businesses searchable again. While the move is certainly encouraging, some industry stakeholders say the platform still has work to do to clarify its policies to users and accept cannabis companies on its network.
“The way that I’m interpreting it is that you will be able to search for cannabis-related companies, [but] I don’t know if that’s actually going to alleviate any of the issues with cannabis-related companies getting flagged and shut down,” Cannabrand CEO Olivia Mannix told Cannabis Business Times.
And it is important to note that only pages that have been verified through Facebook’s verification process and have a badge on their profiles will display in users’ search results—all others will continue to be blocked, and users will need direct links to the pages in order to access them.
“It’s very difficult to get verified,” Mannix said. “And verification is still contingent on Facebook’s laws and regulations. So, it’s still always in their control and hands.”
However, verification gives businesses a level of professionalism on Facebook, and cannabis companies should make an effort to become verified, according to Amy Donahue, founder and social media consultant with Get Hybrid Social.
“I don’t understand why anybody wouldn’t verify their page,” she said. “To me, every business should be verified on Facebook anyway—that just makes you look more professional. … And if that’s what Facebook wants, then sometimes we have to appease the gods and do what they say.”