Facebook and Instagram (Meta) Hates The Cigar Industry
A perspective from the Owner of My Monthly Cigars, Nick G.
I’ve been saying this for a while now and it’s starting to come to fruition, so I’ll say it again loud and clear to reiterate the point:
Meta is NOT the place for the future of the cigar industry on social media.
Take a look at this notification we received on our Instagram account that prompted this blog post:
Sure we’ve been seeing these instances for a while now where cigar related posts on Facebook and Instagram have been throttled way back and hidden from their searches and algorithms. Ask anyone with a cigar related Facebook or Instagram account and they’ll tell you that they’ve seen a drastic decrease in impressions, likes and interaction.
We’ve also seen this on YouTube as well where many cigar accounts have either been flagged or outright removed from the platform for cigar related content. Just for simply giving reviews or presenting information. It has really gotten out of control and to put it bluntly, it’s bullsh*t.
The problem I have is that accounts that are tied LEGAL items/products are getting the virtual slap on the wrists. We all know that these algorithms can be (and basically are) controlled by the platform itself. So you would think that the easy fix would be to not show these LEGAL related posts to those who are underage. You can’t tell us that this is not possible to do because it would just be a flat out lie.
Do you remember when Black Friday hit the online poker world? Well, that's what I can totally see happening to the cigar industry when it comes to Meta. Of course in this case, tons of content will be lost instead of tons of money. Still extremely valuable, especially to an industry that is already handcuffed when it comes to advertising.
If you're not aware of the online poker Black Friday, on April 15, 2003 online poker sites were shut down out of nowhere by the Department of Justice and all bank accounts seized leaving many people in the dust and without their money.
Here's a much more in depth explanation of what happened. Online Poker's Black Friday
The cigar industry is one of the best and most down to earth industries out there. The people involved are well aware of the consequences of improper marketing to the underage demographic. While I don’t know everyone in the industry, I know more than enough to confidently say that none of them are purposely participating in this type of marketing.
The government and FDA have shoved this down our throats so much that it’s coming out of our ears. No one is out here trying to risk their business that they’ve busted their asses to build simply to have it destroyed because they are posing things about their company that they are proud of. And rightfully so, they should be proud. To build something in this industry is not an easy task and to have a piece of that taken away by someone who is influenced by others that have a vested interest against the industry (I won't say who those others may be) is just asinine.
The cigar industry is already extremely limited in their abilities to advertise. Facebook and Instagram have now taken that a step further and have essentially added themselves to that list of places that don’t want us.
One of my favorite sayings is “facts are not feelings” and it’s clearly a fact that Meta does not want the cigar industry.
Of course there’s the old “if you don't like it you can just change the channel” attitude, which in this case would be “use another platform”. While that’s true, it really has become a one way street of censorship and those affected are starting to realize that enough is enough.
Facebook and Instagram continue to allow anyone with a pulse to post false narratives, individual political views, medical info (from non medically trained people) and more. But when it comes to a cottage industry like cigars, they draw the line.
Well, I'm starting to draw that line myself.
Say what you want about Elon Musk and X (formerly Twitter), but in my opinion, this platform is far more suited to fit the cigar industry perfectly and allow those within the industry to grow and thrive.
X allows text, pictures, videos, interaction, real time conversations and more. All things you get from Facebook and Instagram already. You don’t see any throttling back of posts simply because they don’t fit the agenda of the platform ownership. In fact, it's quite the opposite with Musk and X. While it’s not entirely a “free speech” platform (nor should anything be the way the world is these days), it’s an ideal platform for businesses in the cigar industry to post, interact, and be proud of what they are doing and what they have accomplished without the fear of being sent to detention.
Facebook (and Instagram by default of Facebook's ownership) have had a stronghold for a long time as they were the only real true players in the social media game outside of Twitter. But they slowly alienated specific industries, including the cigar industry. I know much of the cigar industry sees this as well, but because of the stronghold by Facebook and Instagram, moving things to another platform is not the easiest task.
The cigar industry is REAL. It’s made up of REAL people who have a REAL product or service that many REAL people (of legal age) enjoy. So I kinda hope that this starts some sort of movement for the cigar industry to build their brands as strongly as possible by realizing there are other avenues that can work for us.
MMC will continue to post on Instagram and Facebook until we are removed from the platform and/or it’s no longer a viable option to use for social media and exposure purposes. Who knows, maybe Zuckerberg sees this and shuts MMC down completely. But in the meantime, we’ll be working on growing elsewhere so that when the day comes that Meta does ultimately decide to shut off the industry completely on their platforms, we’ll be ready for it because we built something just as strong, if not better, elsewhere.
I'll end with this…
If you look at the definition, it might as well say “similar to being self centered and full of yourself”. Which in my opinion, is exactly what those who run Facebook and Instagram are all about. Those within the cigar industry know that is not how we work and present our brands. So it makes complete sense that Meta (Facebook and Instagram) is not the place for the cigar industry to be in terms of social media.
If you agree with the points made in this post, I ask that you share it with others, both in and outside of the cigar industry. There's power in numbers. I'm not trying to start a revolution, I just want the cigar industry to start getting the respect that it deserves.
Thanks for reading my rant.
- Nick G