Tired of Hearing Too Much About Bitcoin? Facebook Takes Charge and Bans All Ads Promoting Cryptocurrencies

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Jan 31, 2018
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The hype around blockchain and cryptocurrencies is getting to the point where it’s becoming more annoying than interesting. From cryptominers hijacking browsers to mine for bitcoin and monero to actual, real life robberies – the attention has potentially resulted in more criminal activity than anything else. It appears that Facebook is tired of seeing an increase in similar activities too.

The platform has rolled out a new ad policy, banning ads for cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). “Ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency,” the policy reads. The social networking giant and one of the biggest advertisement platforms has also given the following examples as something your ads should not be like:

alex-stamos-quitsRelated Facebook Isn’t Just Losing Billions of Dollars – Company’s Security Chief Bids Adieu 

“Start binary options trading now and receive a 10-risk free trades bonus!”

“Click here to learn more about our no-risk cryptocurrency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world.”

“New ICO! Buy tokens at a 15% discount NOW!”

“Use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin!”

Rob Leathern, the company’s Product Management Director said in a blog post published today that Facebook wants its users “to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception.” However, many of the companies advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies “are not currently operating in good faith.”

Reflecting the growing attention on cryptocurrencies, Facebook has also been used to drive traffic to scam and phishing sites and services. The company plays a major role in driving traffic and has more often than not found itself in the middle of several controversies where its platform has been used by scammers, hackers, and criminals.

Legit businesses could take a hit

However, considering there are also legitimate businesses around the technology, the policy sounds a little broad and vague. This policy currently suggests that even the legal, legitimate businesses won’t be able to promote cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Leathern added that the policy is “intentionally broad” since the platform is working to “detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram.”

Once the company is able to spot deceptive ads among cryptocurrency-related advertisements, this policy will be revisited. As reported previously, criminals have heavily shifted their focus on cryptocurrency since the surge in bitcoin value at the end of the last year. While bitcoin continues its dip, it is unlikely if the scam and criminal community will stop focusing on an industry that is making them around $1.5 million every month. Until this attention subsides, and platforms like Facebook come up with better detection tools, these revised policies will help protect users from falling for these scams and phishing attacks – likely at the expense of some startups.

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