Vile Monarch's tycoon game about growing and selling marijuana, Weedcraft Inc, is meeting resistance from Facebook and YouTube two days after its launch.
In a tweet today, publisher Devolver Digital expressed gratitude to those posting YouTube videos of Weedcraft Inc "despite YouTube's ridiculous demonetization of all the game's videos."
In addition, a tweet from PR representative Stephanie Tinsley Fitzwilliam expressed frustration both with the YouTube situation, as well as the game being "banned from Facebook."
When asked for clarification on what this meant, Fitzwilliam said that YouTube videos posted by content creators playing Weedcraft Inc were being flagged for "inappropriate content," and that the game's Facebook page had been restricted, meaning it cannot be promoted outside of those who have already "liked" the page.
Weedcraft Inc's Steam page describes the game as a title that "explores the business of producing, breeding and selling weed in America, delving deep into the financial, political and cultural aspects of the country's complex relationship with this troublesome and promising plant." Fitzwilliam noted that there is no illegal drug use in the game, but rather that the focus is on the business of marijuana growth, sale, and distribution in America's current "semi-legal" climate.
Use and possession of marijuana for any reason is currently illegal under US federal law; however, 33 states have legalized medicinal marijuana under state law and ten states have legalized it recreationally.
"Murdering people is also illegal in every state and country around the world," Fitzwilliam continued in a Twitter thread, "but there's still a billion videos showing games that do that on YouTube so it's really less about what's legal and more about hypocrisy, I think."
YouTube's guidelines for advertiser-friendly content notes that video content that "promotes or features the sale, use, or abuse of illegal drugs, regulated drugs or substances, or other dangerous products is not suitable for advertising." However, the guide goes on to say that just discussing drugs for educational, documentary, or artistic purposes are acceptable, "so long as drug use or substance abuse is not graphic or glorified."
Facebook's policy is less detailed but more restrictive, prohibiting ads that "promote the sale or use of illegal, prescription, or recreational drugs." This includes even using images of recreational or medicinal marijuana or accessories used to partake of it.
This is not the first time a Devolver-published title has run into trouble with advertising platforms. Earlier this year, Facebook rejected the launch trailer for Gris on the basis of "sexually suggestive" content, despite the fact that the ad contained no sexual imagery. Facebook later clarified this was not due to the Gris ad itself, but instead because the ad linked to Devolver's Instagram page and that content on that page violated Facebook policy against nudity.