Facebook shuts down another cigar group. On July 24, 2019, Facebook rolled out a new policy that limits content and restricts sales of alcohol and tobacco, including e-cigarettes. This policy also applies to Facebook groups created for the sale of alcohol and tobacco. That new policy is bad news for cigar smokers and many cigar-related Facebook groups. Many groups disappeared. Others now strictly forbid trades and sales.
New England Cigar Militia
Last week, Facebook took it a step further. One of the more active cigar groups on Facebook is now offline. The New England Cigar Militia has 2300 members of which 85% is actively posting in the group. That’s a high percentage. But Facebook shows no remorse. The group is gone. The personal accounts of the admins are also locked.
This time the reason is even more ridiculous than sales or trades. The admins of the New England Cigar Militia group are actively removing all sales and trades posts. Instead, Facebook targets the group over the name. Apparently, the word militia is too much for Facebook. Even though it’s a word that’s used in the second amendment of the American constitution. That amendment reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Lawsuit against Facebook
The actions of the Facebook moderators could be the result of a lawsuit filed by four people filing a lawsuit against the social media giant. The four people filed a federal lawsuit demanding that Facebook prevents militias and hate groups from using their platform. In August, a militia used the platform to draw armed people to protests in Wisconsin last month that left two people dead. Prosecutors have charged 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse with shooting and killing Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber during a protest in Kenosha on Aug. 25 over the police shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, two days earlier.
But the New England Cigar Militia isn’t an army of non-professional soldiers, nor a hate group. It’s a group where cigar enthusiasts from all over the world share pictures and knowledge about cigars. So even if Facebook loses the federal lawsuit, there is no reason to shut down an active cigar group. The group is not political. No Facebook policies are broken. Hopefully, the Facebook moderators see the error in their judgment and reinstate the group as soon as possible. And unlock the accounts of the admins. A new group is online with the same founders under a new name. You can find the group here.
In a conversation with Ministry of Cigars, the group founder Kevin Commish Parow showed his appreciation and gratitude to the cigar community. The outrage about the actions of Facebook is shared throughout the whole community. Many groups support NECM and actively ask their members to join NECM.