Written By: Christopher Miles
I had heard horror stories of ‘Big Tech’ but never realized how ridiculous the censorship was until I began in the cannabis industry. Now let me preface this by saying, I understand censoring people who are breaking the law. Selling illegal products or “plugs” is what they are called. Plugs are everywhere, trying to sell you this or that. So I understand there is a balance that needs to be achieved with these algorithms. But what about people like us who are trying to inform patients and educate users so they can consume or use cannabis in a safe way? We have gone above and beyond to ensure that our website is safe and age-protected, yet we still get ‘strikes’ on YouTube. We aren’t the only one’s dealing with this either. Many of our partner sites are also going through the same issue. It’s unbelievably frustrating when you see other channels who aren’t required to follow the same rules as you.
Can you reach anyone at these big tech companies?
Not only has it been censorship of our content, but we’ve also dealt with YouTube trying to throw copyright strikes our way for using licensed music from the video editing program we use called Adobe Spark. We literally lost all the music on our videos for a period of time because some computer AI made an arbitrary decision about our content. Can you reach anyone at YouTube or Google to discuss their decisions? No.
As of recently Facebook has decided to go on a tangent as well. On 12/22/2020 CannaCook and Ark420 got hit with 27 strikes that removed our content. Most of this content was from almost a year ago. Of course you can “disagree” with their decision, but you can never get any specifics on why the content isn’t appropriate. In a normal world, you’d be able to at least get information on what is wrong with your post. Instead we are left wondering each day if our social media pages will still be there.
We can’t advertise, but Facebook can advertise on our site..
At CannaCook, we’ve made it our mission to keep our website as non-invasive as possible. We refrain from putting pop-ups and other marketing that would cause people to distrust or despise going to our website. With that said, we do run advertising on our website, provided by a few different companies. One of these companies is Google Adsense. Now, mind you, CannaCook can’t advertise on these platforms… But they run their banners on our website. If our content isn’t considered “advertising” worthy on Facebook, why do they continue to advertise on sites like ours. The hypocrisy is ramped.
Arbitrary policy changes you can’t fight
Recently YouTube changed their policy making it where you can’t watch their 18+ on other websites. What that means is when we embed our own content, you must click over to YouTube to actually watch the video. When they label your videos 18+ it also takes away your ability to monetize the videos. So YouTube runs our content, places their advertising all over it, and won’t let creators turn this off. I literally can’t turn off the advertising on my channel if I wanted to. I also see no revenue from our videos due to these arbitrary rules. Another issue; in our recipe videos, we usually would link to the text version of the recipe, but you can’t do that any longer either! So YouTube expects us to give them our content and they can do whatever they want with it. It is such a joke.
Trading one tyrant for another
Although there are other platforms popping up everywhere, we must be careful when we download them! In fact I was considering one new cannabis-type platform, CannaBuzz, but upon downloading their app it informed me that they are still tracking and tracing my information. This is what we are trying to avoid. Nobody should have the authority to steal your personal information as a bribe to use their software. Period. But what they do is hide all these rules in the “Terms and Conditions” upon signing up, leaving you at the mercy of their rules or without the ability to have social media accounts to connect to others.
Some possible solutions…
Thankfully some very creative solutions have manifested recently. In fact we have partnered with a new company called CannaLink24. Open 24 hours a day, CannaLink24 is a new Facebook-like platform. Imagine you take the website Leafly and Facebook, put them together, and CannaLink24 is what you’d have. We have began moving our CannaCook group and our Ark420 group over to this platform. Of course the challenge though resides in trying to get our members over to the platform. The major pro with this software is they already have Apps for apple and android and many of the features like video chat built right in.
Another creative platform has also been created called LeafWire.com. They do not have the Apps yet like CannaLink24, but they are more of a LinkedIn of Cannabis. I actually setup my profile on their website yesterday. I’ve already established some really good connections there. But the downside really is not having an app. LeafWire is currently crowd-funding to perpetuate their future plans.
My predictions for big tech
We’ve seen big tech’s true colors this year. I am not going to get political with this article. Frankly politics bore me beyond belief. But it has become blatantly obvious that big tech follows a narrative. It’s almost a joke now that you can actually get news or facts from companies like mainstream media or social media platforms. But my prediction is that companies like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram & Chinese-owned Reddit, will actually fade into the background. I think people have had enough of being told what to believe and what to say. In 2020 we’ve watched our liberties fly out the window. The internet used to be a place you could express yourself. Now that these insidious companies have their tentacles in everything, the internet is run by greed… just like everything else in this world.
We will continue to always help patients despite what these big companies throw at us. CannaCook has recently upgraded it’s hosting so we can host our own videos and not rely on companies like YouTube to serve our videos. We are doing everything we can to ensure we serve you the best recipes without invasive advertising.
Written By: Christopher Miles
COO of CannaCook Inc.
What do you think of Big Tech and it’s censorship? Let us know below!