Facebook has thrown another dampener on the growing cryptocurrency industry after it today said that it has halted all Bitcoin and cryptocurrency-related advertising on its network. The enforcement will begin to ramp up across Facebook, Instagram, and its off-platform Audience Network.
The social media giant announced its newest policy update on Tuesday. It now bans advertising for ICO campaigns and all other forms of virtual currency from its online service. Additionally, Facebook placed limits on controversial financial instruments like binary options.
The ban also reflects official sentiment as the move comes at the time when complaints are piling up against ICO scams. Facebook’s action was in line with recent efforts by US authorities to combat widespread cryptocurrency fraud.
According to Facebook’s product management director Rob Leathern: “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. This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices, and, writes Leathern. We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”
Although the ban has led to an online outcry, the impact of Facebook’s move should be small as the Bitcoin trade is not overly dependent on internet advertising.
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A shake down for the industry
While the news was disappointing to many people and companies planning to launch their cryptocurrencies and ICOs, many people and regulators have welcomed it.
John Lewis, CMO of tokentarget, an agency that offers marketing services for ICOs, said “This is the kind of shake-down the industry needs to ensure legitimate entrepreneurs in the cryptocurrencies and ICO space can get their projects off the ground as well as protecting investors”.
The company has published a few examples of ads that will be banned under the new guidelines, including: “Click here to learn more about our no-risk cryptocurrency that enables instant payments to anyone in the world”, “Use your retirement funds to buy Bitcoin”, and “New ICO! Buy tokens at a 15% discount now!”
Facebook said that it encourages the community to report content that violates the rules, as it may not catch every ad that should be removed under this new policy.
Lewis added: “We hope that other large advertisers of these products and services follow suit to make our industry vibrant and safe for everyone. A year later and this is a much more competitive landscape, so weeding out the bad boys is actually a good move from Facebook”.