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31 Jan 2018

Facebook bans cryptocurrency, ICO ads to ensure greater user security

Facebook has banned advertisements related to cryptocurrency, binary options and initial coin offerings (ICOs), calling them misleading.

Rob Leathern, FB's product management director, announced the decision through a blog post on Wednesday.

The move is part of the social media giant's new policy to "improve the integrity and security" of its financial product and services ads.

Read on to know more.

In context

No more cryptocurrency and ICO ads on Facebook
No place on Facebook for scammers, deceptive ads


No place on Facebook for scammers, deceptive ads

In his blog post Leathern says the new ad policy "prohibits ads that promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrency."

He goes on to say that FB wants its users to continue to learn about new products and services through its ads "without fear of scams or deception."

Users can report fraudulent ads

Ads, not in sync with the company's new policy, are now banned on Facebook's core app and all other places (such as Instagram and Audience Network) where FB sells ads. Users can report ads they feel are deceptive by clicking on its upper right-hand corner.

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Facebook to further work on new ad policy

The growing popularity of ICOs and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum has led to several fraudulent practises, forcing FB to make its latest move.

Since the new policy is "intentionally broad", Facebook plans to revisit it on getting better at detecting and removing misleading ads.

The tech major has also urged users to report all content they find in violation with its norms.

Facebook allows certain sensitive financial ads but with restrictions


Facebook allows certain sensitive financial ads but with restrictions

Interestingly, Facebook allows ads for certain controversial financial products/services albeit with some restrictions.

For instance, it demands a "written permission" for any sort of gambling or gaming service that involves real money.

Moreover, "deceptive/misleading" student loan ads can't feature on its platform.

FB also makes it mandatory for advertisers of such services to target only those users older than 18 years.

Conflict of interest

Some FB board members are prominent crypto backers

Meanwhile, it is yet to be seen how this new FB policy is received by the tech giant's board of directors, some of whom are known crypto backers. Marc Andreessen and Peter Thiel are two such who have major investments in cryptocurrency.

Furthermore, FB Messenger chief David Marcus is a board member at Coinbase, a popular crypto exchange.

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