Zero-Censorship Instagram Clone Social Club Removed from App Store
Social Club was attempting to fill a void in the cannabis community but the uncensored environment got out of hand.
An app originally designed to allow cannabis social media posting and advertising has been removed from the Apple App Store. But reports are saying that it wasn’t necessarily because of the weed content. Instead, the app quickly turned into a platform for a host of problematic—if not illegal—activities, including gore videos, child pornography, racist content, and more.
Zero-Censorship Designed for Weed Content
The app, which is called Social Club, was spearheaded by Joshua Otten, co-founder of cannabis brand PRØHBTD, and Berner, a rapper and owner of a weed company called Cookies.
According to the co-founders, the point of Social Club was to create a space for cannabis content. Specifically, they frame the app as a response to mainstream social media apps like Facebook and Instagram, which are known for blocking and removing content related to weed.
In the absence of digital platforms where people can post about weed and where weed companies can advertise, Otten and Berner decided to start Social Club.
However, the app quickly became much more than just a weed-friendly social media site. Thanks to its “zero-censorship” policy, Social Club turned into a repository for all sorts of other content. And according to many users, a lot of this other content was extremely problematic.
As reported by Tech Crunch, some of the more offensive material to show up on Social Club included things like racist content, violent content, and child pornography.
Additionally, people started posting illegal activities to the site. This reportedly included selling a wide variety of illegal drugs and weapons.
Social Club launched on July 15 of this year. From there, it quickly blew up. Since going live, it was downloaded at least 455,000 times.
With those numbers, Social Club rapidly rose through the ranks. Specifically, it became the 12th-ranked app on the U.S. App Store in both the apps and games categories. When it comes to the app category, it rose to as high as the number five position.
But now, Social Club is no longer available on the App Store. That’s because Apple recently chose to remove it. But for now, Social Club is reportedly still available on Google Play.
Cannabis Space Co-opted?
According to Berner, one of the co-founders of Social Club, the entire thing is a case of a space designed for weed being taken over by other people for other reasons. In fact, Berner went so far as to say the app was “attacked.”
Today, he Tweeted the following: “I feel like we were attacked. I don’t see how overnight the app completely changed, sad, scary and wack . Cleaning it up now.”
Additionally, Berner said something similar in an Instagram story. In this post, he said the app was only “temporarily” blocked from the App Store. He went on to reiterate the idea that Social Club was attacked. Specifically, he said “a weirdass porn community attacked the app.”
Fundamentally, if the co-founders of the app are to be believed, Social Club was attempting to fill a void in the cannabis community. Even in the age of rapidly growing legalization, marijuana continues to be barred from a number of mainstream companies, platforms, and services.
This includes things like social media, where individuals are often blocked from posting cannabis content and weed companies are often blocked from advertising.
It also includes things like banking. Typically legal weed companies can not gain access to key financial institutions because of federal cannabis prohibition.
Lindsey, ByNick. “Zero-Censorship Instagram Clone Social Club Removed from App Store.” Green Rush Daily, 10 Oct. 2019, greenrushdaily.com/technology/zero-censorship-instagram-clone-social-club-removed-from-app-store/.