Berner’s New Weed Photo App Shut Down After Being Co-Opted by Internet Trolls
The rapper and weed entrepreneur created the Social Club app to help cannabis fans escape Instagram’s strict censorship rules. But the platform was soon glutted by vile content, including child pornography.
Published on October 10, 2019

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Cookies head honcho Berner is a jack of all trades. From crafting one of California’s most respected legal weed brands and rapping, to starting a clothing label and building more businesses than we can count, it often seems like Big Bern can’t lose. And then the trolls came out of hiding.

Berner’s latest business venture, the social media photo sharing app Social Club, was developed as a response to Instagram’s cannabis censorship rules. For years, cannabis companies and operators — including Berner — have complained that Instagram has deleted their accounts, removed posts, and “shadow banned” pages from appearing on followers’s feeds. On Social Club, pot users and growers would be free to show off their ganja goods to friends and followers without worrying about any arbitrary oversight. 

But according to a tweet from New York Times reporter Taylor Lorenz, the new pot photo utopia was usurped by right wing trolls and purveyors of child pornography, who used the censor-free app to share their vile content. This week, Social Club gained hundreds of thousands of nefarious users in just days and shot up the Apple app downloads chart, while quickly devolving into a platform reminiscent of 4Chan. 

In a response to Lorenz’ tweet, Berner posted his own tweet and Instagram video addressing the situation, saying that the app had been taken down off the Apple app store, and would only return once safeguards were in place to make sure that it was clear of any malicious content.

“I feel like we were attacked,” Berner wrote on Twitter. “I don’t see how overnight the app completely changed, sad, scary and wack. Cleaning it up now.”

As of press time there is no word on when — if ever — Social Club might return to mobile app marketplaces.

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Zach Harris
Zach Harris is a writer based in Philadelphia whose work has appeared on Noisey, First We Feast, and Jenkem Magazine. You can find him on Twitter @10000youtubes complaining about NBA referees.
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