Cannabis journalist Steve Elliott on Saturday was banned by Facebook from posting, Liking or commenting for 30 days — for posting the link to a mainstream news story that had been shared by 1,400 other users of the social media site.
“I’d been banned twice before merely for reporting marijuana prices, which has been my job now since 2009,” said Elliott, who has done cannabis reporting for the SF Weekly, Seattle Weekly, Northwest Leaf, Hemp News, Toke Signals, Toke of the Town, and DOPE Magazine.
“I thought I’d discovered where the ‘bright line’ was, because the first two times, actual prices were in my Facebook post,” Elliott said. “But that doesn’t apply this time, because all I posted was a link to the mainstream news story, noting that I’d gotten banned from Facebook for reporting the same thing in the past.”
“It’s hard to take Facebook’s decision personally when it shows absolutely no evidence of human intelligence,” Elliott said. “If the decision’s being made by some sort of algorithm, there’s no malice involved.”
Elliott said he can only conclude that some bitter or misguided person is reporting practically everything he posts on Facebook, in the hopes that something will “stick to the wall,” algorithm-wise — and occasionally, it apparently does. “I only hope that this person will soon find a more meaningful focus for their life than my Facebook posts,” Elliott said.