​Facebook holds ICO ban but allows 'approved' cryptocurrency ads

The social network has tweaked its financial product scam ban, now allowing ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers only.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Facebook earlier this year announced it was cracking down on advertisements of financial products that are often used to scam users by banning ads that promoted initial coin offerings (ICOs), cryptocurrencies, and binary options on its platform.

But while the social network is still strict on its no-ICO play, it has tweaked the ban to now allow ads that promote cryptocurrency and related content from pre-approved advertisers.

The policy introduced in January aimed to "prohibit ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices".

At the time, the company still in hot water over the misuse of information on up to 87 million users said the policy was "intentionally broad" while it worked to "better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices".

In a blog post penned by Facebook product management director Rob Leathern, the company explains advertisers wanting to run ads for cryptocurrency products and services must submit an application for an eligibility assessment to be conducted.

The application is to include any licences the advertiser has obtained, whether they are traded on a public stock exchange, and other relevant public background on their business.

"Given these restrictions, not everyone who wants to advertise will be able to do so," Leathern wrote. "But we'll listen to feedback, look at how well this policy works, and continue to study this technology so that, if necessary, we can revise it over time."

While some cryptocurrencies are legitimate, many have turned out to be scams, leaving investors out of pocket by millions of dollars. Many threat actors and fraudsters are also operating malicious websites masquerading as legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges.

As a result, Google also began its crypto ban this month, preventing advertising relating to cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and more from appearing on the tech giant's search engine.

The company's updated financial services policy will ban "cryptocurrencies and related content (including but not limited to initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice)".

In order to be certified by the company, aggregators and affiliate companies will need to be licenced by local financial authorities, ensure their ads and landing pages comply with AdWords policies, and comply with local laws when speculative financial products are involved.

Twitter has also followed suit with the cryptocurrency banhammer, in April implementing a new advertising ban that covers advertising of ICOs and token sales, as well as ads by cryptocurrency exchanges and cryptocurrency wallet services, unless they are public companies listed on certain stock markets.


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