Stating that misleading ads have no place on Facebook, the social media giant has announced a policy to ban all ads that promote cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and initial coin offerings (ICOs). This is an effort by the company to prevent people from advertising what the company is calling “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”
In a blogpost, Rob Leathern, one of Facebook’s ad tech directors stated that, “Two of our core advertising principles outline our belief that ads should be safe, and that we build for people first. Misleading or deceptive ads have no place on Facebook. We’ve created a new policy that prohibits ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency.”
That means no advertiser, even those that operate legitimate businesses will now be able to promote Bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies, or ICOs or binary options on Facebook.
Ads that violate the company’s new policy will be banned on Facebook’s core app, but also in other places where its sells ads, including Instagram as well as its ad network, Audience Network, which places ads on third-party apps.
The post further stated that, “ This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and enforcement will begin to ramp up across our platforms including Facebook, Audience Network and Instagram. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve. We also understand that we may not catch every ad that should be removed under this new policy, and encourage our community to report content that violates our Advertising Policies. People can report any ad on Facebook by clicking on the upper right-hand corner of the ad.”
The efforts come as Facebook wants to improve the integrity and security of its ads, and to make it harder for scammers to profit from a presence on Facebook. Interestingly, Facebook’s board of directors includes two investors Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel, whose firms have been prominent crypto backers. Facebook Messenger boss, David Marcus, is also on the board at the crypto exchange Coinbase.
Ironically, last month Mark Zuckerberg had himself stated that he wants to explore the power the cryptocurrency, as a technology and also as an important means to empower decentralisation. The Facebook founder wants to explore how cryptocurrency can be enabled in Facebook services.
The policy by Facebook comes at a time when the boom in cryptocurrencies has led to many scams and price fluctuations, with a lot of novice investors losing money. India too has not been left untouched in this regard. In December last year, fictitious Indian cryptocurrency site Kashhcoins was busted for fraud worth $7.79 Mn. While it is a welcome move, however how effective will Facebook policies prove in weeding out scammers from genuine Bitcoin companies will be interesting to watch out for.