Facebook bans ads for all cryptocurrencies from its platform

31 Jan 2018

Facebook website. Image: I AM NIKOM/Shutterstock

Those who want to promote their cryptocurrency offerings will no longer be able to do so on Facebook.

There is no escaping the current cryptocurrency frenzy, with numerous initial coin offers (ICOs) and wild value fluctuations becoming commonplace.

Advertisements touting ‘crypto-geniuses’ and questionable ICOs have no doubt been making an appearance on various online platforms, but Facebook has now decided to enforce a blanket ban on ads referring to cryptocurrencies.

Scams and deception

Product management director for Facebook business, Rob Leathern, made the announcement yesterday (30 January) regarding the cryptocurrency ban. He noted: “We want people to continue to discover and learn about new products and services through Facebook ads without fear of scams or deception.”

He explained that Facebook had noticed many companies “advertising binary options, ICOs and cryptocurrencies that are not currently operating in good faith”.

The policy is casting a wide net, with Leathern explaining that it 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”.

Leathern encouraged users to report suspicious advertisements, as there may be ads that are not flagged by Facebook itself that violate its advertising policies. The policy will be revisited in time, once the signals improve.

Cryptocurrency world is volatile

The world of cryptocurrencies has been dogged by scams and suspicion in recent months, with calls for regulation coming from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and insecure cryptocurrency exchanges falling victim to theft on a massive scale.

Cases of ICOs disappearing once the funds are raised are also becoming more commonplace, with plenty of unscrupulous companies using the fundraising method for its lack of regulatory red tape in comparison to more traditional forms of investment.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had expressed an interest in cryptocurrencies earlier in January, where he said he was examining the area’s potential to decentralise power structures.

When the news was announced, bitcoin’s value slumped, not helped by the fraud suit filed by the SEC against cryptocurrency banking firm AriseBank. Coindesk reported that the co-founders, Jared Rice Sr and Stanley Ford, allegedly issued unregistered securities during its recent ICO.

Facebook website. Image: I AM NIKOM/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects