Sensi Seeds’ Instagram account suspended without warning

You may have noticed – in fact we know some of you have noticed, because you’ve been in touch with us about it – that Friday 12th of January 2018, our Instagram account was disabled. There was no warning whatsoever. Not a hint nor a suspicion that we, and you, were about to lose access to all of our carefully curated Instagram photos.

At first, our social media manager thought that our account had been hacked, or that there was a problem with the platform of the social media photo sharing giant. It was only when he tried to log in from his phone that a notification appeared. Apparently, we have violated Instagram’s community guidelines.

Indicas and sativas, buds and hash

But how? We haven’t shown nudity or violence. We haven’t bought likes or followers (we don’t need to, thanks to our fantastic fanbase – thanks folks!). We haven’t spammed anyone.  As far as we know, we’ve followed all the Instagram Community Guidelines, up to and including posting content for a diverse audience – we’ve featured photos of indicas and sativas, buds and hash…

Joking aside, we suspect that that’s the problem. We’ve encountered problems with photos of buds on Facebook being deleted without warning, and indications from various sources that “explicit” bud shots, especially when coupled with a discount code or other sales text, will be red-flagged and removed. Instagram disabling our account is a far more radical step than Facebook (who bought, and monetised, Instagram in 2012) removing some of our content. We’re working hard on getting the Sensi Seeds Instagram account back. Tips on how to do this are mainly anecdotal and vague, but we’re by no means the only people that this has ever happened to.

Both the disabling of an account, and the appeal process to have it enabled again, seem to be automated. As with the Facebook incident, although we really don’t like the idea that there might be competitors out there trying to take us ‘off the air’, enough reports filed and our account could well have been disabled without a pair of human eyes ever looking at it. Not only that, but “Even if you or someone you know doesn’t have an Instagram account, you can still file a report.”, according to the Community Guidelines. It’s also possible that someone (whether inside or outside Instagram) has mistaken us selling cannabis seeds for selling actual cannabis, which would indeed be against the terms and conditions.

Is there anybody out there?

Instagram also claims that “We have a global team that reviews these reports and works as quickly as possible to remove content that doesn’t meet our guidelines.” However, there is nothing about a team also working to reinstate accounts that have been wrongly suspended. Going by the experiences of other people, it’s difficult to attract the attention of a human being. There is even the rumour of a “gray market of employees providing unofficial Instagram support services”, for those with the money to pay for it.

Instagram customer service is notoriously bad at responding to multiple forms of communication. There are numerous reports of multiple emails going unanswered. Our social media manager has been trying various methods of getting in touch with them for the past week, but they have yet to give any kind of response.

Tweets, but no replies

A quick glance at the ‘Tweets and Replies’ section of their Twitter feed shows that Instagram do tweet, but don’t reply. Most of the replies to Instagram’s own tweets are, in descending order of volume: people asking for customer support, people expressing their extreme frustration (to put it politely) with the total lack of customer support, people complaining about the new algorithm, and people requesting the return of the Gingham filter. Instagram hasn’t responded to a single one. If you want to tweet them and let them know you’d like to see the Sensi Seeds Instagram account back up and running, please do – but it may never be acknowledged by the social media department of a company whose business is social media. Hashtag “irony”.

Instagram infamous

Being a cannabis business is notoriously fraught with advertising difficulties, from Dutch coffeeshops not being allowed to display pictures of cannabis to Canadian dispensaries who have had their Instagram accounts deleted. Even though our business is seeds, not their end product, we still can’t advertise on Instagram. This means we don’t (directly) create revenue for them, which means we won’t receive verification, nor an account manager – the lack of human contact is suddenly reversed for companies who can, and do, advertise, since they are granted an actual person to help them run their account and thereby generate more income for Instagram.

There’s a double standard at play here somewhere too. The Sensi Seeds Instagram is a legitimate social media channel for a legitimate company selling a legitimate product which isn’t a drug and therefore should be exempt from the “Offering sexual services, buying or selling firearms and illegal or prescription drugs (even if it’s legal in your region) is also not allowed” clause in the Community Guidelines. Leafly, Weedmaps, and grandfather of all cannabis magazines High Times, are still happily posting pictures of cannabis – plants, buds, and in the latter’s case, joints the size of a drainpipe – without retribution. High Times and Weedmaps even have the coveted blue tick of verification. Would it be too cynical to suggest that the difference between safety and risk, verification and deletion, is how much money one funnels into Instagram?

Let us know what you think in the comments below, and stay tuned for updates on the status of our Instagram account.

Comments

21 thoughts on “Sensi Seeds’ Instagram account suspended without warning”

  1. They would not even let me pay to advertise Colorado Cannabis College even in only my own local area where its legal. Yet I see tons of other adds for cannabis companies. It just seems its whatever the whim of their team member is who is reviewing your ad. Very disheartening.

  2. Your image looks as though you are selling flower. I operate some of the top cannabis seed groups on facebook with upwards of 13,000 members and your image should include the words “Sensi Seeds” to be understood it is an ad for seeds not flower. FB moderators control drugs and cannabis advertising as best they can and if that FB moderator is not happy, your target for the day… I have managed groups since the 1990s and can move millions of people off FB to anywhere i want; so it goes to figure I know fortune 500 marketing. Basically you gave them their target, you look like your selling “drugs” as most of the world thinks cannabis still is… Find somebody who knows NOT to make these classic mistakes that can hurt your image and for GOD’s sake don’t re-hash your mistakes for all the world to read…

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Preston,

      Thanks for trying to help 🙂

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

  3. Is it as simple as Cannabis is legal is some (U.S) states but is not in other states or even in some countries (Australia) and yet FB is feeding everyone information on WWW that is viewed everywhere…so the promotions are just eliminated to maintain the status quo that it’s still not legal world wide? I would suggest to overcome this that the whole legalized industry (that’s growing) generate its’ own social media platform and then promote that on FB. Once people join I doubt they would ever leave. Look to the future…and create what customers want!

  4. Chemney Youn Blunt

    Facebook has deleted me more times than I can think of. why is it that kids can see the most disgusting sex acts imaginable but weed is offensive to facebook users? We just keep on grinding forward one day soon this will be a thing of the past.

  5. Funny how Fb since buying instagram….how they are a law on them selfs … surely they fail under some law of standards them selfs .. as in.. no responding to customer … poor sevices … if any other bi in uk did that they would be drag over coals for it … but no course not… as they are a law to the, selfs …..I have never been offended nor scared of any post you have placed up …. ok some of the post my have my dripping wet …. down my top as I drool

    Keep doing what you sir …. your info and guidance helps all folks who come to you.

  6. Maybe its time too move back to the forum? Its a shame too see it the way it is when it was a thriving community full of knowledge and good likeminded people. When FB and insta came along everyone jumped ship bar a few of us die hards! I still check in there every day. I thought when charly sensi came along things would change but i havnt seen him about in months. Please, revive the forum!

  7. Charles Albert

    My YouTube channel was delete because I posted video about medicak cannabis. Over that 2000hours wasted because they are at war against a plant.

    1. Scarlet Palmer - Sensi Seeds

      Hi Charles,

      Thanks for your comment, we’re really sorry to hear that! I hope it gets reinstated soon.

      With best wishes,

      Scarlet

  8. I thought the Google motto used to be “Don’t be evil”. Obviously, they have revised that.

    And I agree – fuck you Google

  9. Fine with me….now would be the time to start a new website with all the cannabis related users ….WeedTube….:-))))

  10. sister flora moon

    i ve been noticing these strange disappearing of wonderful videos from jorge cervantes, endoca, etc.
    i believe they are retrograding in people right.
    awful and ridiculous this in 2018

  11. I posted a video about Cannabis Oil and now my account is gone… Couldn’t retrive it also.

  12. Bobby Smith

    I live in a prohibition state and the cannabis community here is Nil. I found Uptown Grow Lab & Positive Smash 420’s channel and that changed everything! The knowledge, the sense of community with love chats, whenever Postive Smash 420 & UGL would collaborate on videos, they were not only hilarious, but extremely informative! That’s what’s so killer about YouTube pulling all these WeedTuber’s channels… the knowledge lost. They weren’t out there doing 5g dabs, they were doing strain reviews, product reviews (ie subscription box reviolike Hemper & Daily High Club), they answered questions directly to all who sought cannabis knowledge. It’s really just so fuckin’ sad :/

  13. Vagueness of written law combined with inconsitency of and the denial of explanation for policing actions. This is a well known tool for brutal dictators and other suppressive governments to instill fear and achieve overcomplience with their rules.

  14. Dan Redband’s channel has been deleted as well. Youtube is destroying existences. Whoever is in charge of this operation has a personal problem with weed smokers and is not being rational or scientific. It’s a genocide – and nothing else.

  15. Recently, YouTube started banning WeedTubers. May be Instagram also planning the same…

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    Sensi Seeds

    The Sensi Seeds Editorial team has been built throughout our more than 30 years of existence. Our writers and editors include botanists, medical and legal experts as well as renown activists the world over including Lester Grinspoon, Micha Knodt, Robert Connell Clarke, Maurice Veldman, Sebastian Maríncolo, James Burton and Seshata.
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