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Facebook to Ban Cryptocurrency Related Ads, For Now

Facebook is banning all advertisements for cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and initial coin offerings (ICOs), as part of an “intentionally broad” policy against deceptive marketers.

Social media giant Facebook has unveiled a new policy that bans advertisements involving cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), a popular funding tool used by many new startups. Today, January 30th, Rob Leathern, the company’s product management director, wrote in a blog post that the new policy targets “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.”

Many users of the site have likely encountered ads for ICOs, including those promising high investment returns and bonuses for early participation. Other advertisements seen on the platform pitch investment advice in and around the cryptosphere. Such ads, Leathern argued, are being targeted as part of an evolving policy against potentially fraudulent activities on the site.

“We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception. That said, there are many companies who are advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith.”

Leathern added that the policy extends to other platforms under Facebook’s purview, including the photo-sharing app Instagram and the television channel Audience Network. He suggested that the policy could be changed in the future, although he didn’t provide any kind of timeline, saying that as the company gets better at detecting and removing bad ads, the company “will revisit this policy and how we enforce it.”

Currently, Facebook does permits ads for more sensitive financial topics, but with restrictions. For example, it requires written permission for any real-money gambling or gaming services and bans “misleading or deceptive” student loan ads. It also requires advertisers of these services to only target users over 18 years of age. Down the line, it is possible that legitimate cryptocurrency services will eventually get a similar treatment — once Facebook, like the rest of the world, figures out how to properly regulate them.

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