PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Thinking they've been playing by the rules, the owner of an edibles company doesn't understand why Instagram shut down their pages.
We have covered this issue in the past with a different medical marijuana company.
Nadeem Al-Hasan co-founded Baked Bros Edibles, which sells THC gummies and syrup, in 2014. They are now in 85 dispensaries in Arizona. At the height of their Instagram fame, he said they had 22,000 followers.
"We've spent thousands of dollars into social media managers, social media content creation, photography," Al-Hasan said.
But Nadeem said all that went out the window in late 2015 when their page @bakedbros_az was disabled for violating Instagram's terms.
"We got it back five months later, and we just had it removed six months ago," Al-Hasan said.
So they started a new page, @bakedbros_edibles, in January. In March that one got disabled, too. But after we went to Instagram, they said that the second account was "removed in error," and then restored. They maintain the original account was removed for violating their policies.
Instagram spokeswoman Stephanie Otway also said:
...When people report content or accounts to us, we have a global team of content reviewers who assess that content and take action on it in line with our policies. We receive millions of reports and at times reviewers make mistakes when assessing content and take down content or accounts in error. We give people the option to appeal mistakes here: https://help.instagram.com/366993040048856
"They have appeared, in our review, to have been following the guidelines," said attorney Todd Winter, who represents cannabis businesses in California and Arizona, including Baked Bros. He said this is not an isolated event.
"A majority of our clients are shut down regularly for no apparent reason," Winter said.
Otway reiterated their policy to us:
Content that attempts to buy, sell or trade marijuana is not allowed on Instagram, regardless of state or country. We prohibit any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information – and we will remove accounts that violate these policies. We do allow marijuana advocacy content, and dispensaries can also promote the use and federal legalization of marijuana provided that they do not also attempt its sale.
"It's so subjective to what's violating the terms so who's to say who we're offending, if we are at all," Al-Hasan said.
He also said he would be playing it safe as much as possible on their page @bakedbrosaz on the social media platform.
"Fingers crossed we don't get removed," he said. "That's part of owning a business, risk, right?"