Facebook blocks crypto-related advertisements

New Delhi | Published: March 5, 2018 10:30:33 PM

The rising popularity of alternate currency has made much news recently.

facebook, bitcoinFacebook introduced a new advertising policy that prohibits ads from cryptocurrency, ICOs (initial coin offering) and binary options.

The rising popularity of alternate currency has made much news recently. But cryptocurrencies are now facing the music — from losing steam in the market (the price of Bitcoin tanked to $10,000 from $19,000) to their ads being banned. Recently, Facebook introduced a new advertising policy that prohibits ads from cryptocurrency, ICOs (initial coin offering) and binary options. The social media giant has introduced a blanket ban on ads for ‘financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices’. It further called cyryptocurrencies and binary options as the worst offenders. Although Facebook says that it wants people to keep discovering and learning about cryptocurrency and ICOs, its product management director, Rob Leather insists that most companies associated with such adverts are culpable of ‘not operating in good faith’. Similar calls have been made on Google to follow Facebook in banning related ads over fraud concerns.

Meanwhile, regulators are also waking up to the ads being released by cyrpto start-ups and companies. Recently L’Autorite Des Marches Financiers (AMF), France’s stock market regulator, released a statement about wanting to curb advertising on cryptocurrency-tied derivatives. The Australian securities regulator has so far received more than 1,200 crypto scam complaints, with one complaint detailing how an exchange advertised that it was an existing Australian company to gain consumer trust.

While ad regulators across the globe are yet to formulate any specific policies on this nascent but growing industry, not many are bothered by its ads. New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority has not received any crypto-related ad complaints, and the UK’s ad standards body said it had received less than 10 cryptocurrency-related ad complaints so far but none of them notorious enough to lead to any investigation. Russia’s equivalent to Facebook, VK had banned crypto ads last year but lifted the ban in August, 2017 ‘to open even more opportunities for the active development of the cryptocurrency market’. Even if social media platforms tighten up their procedures, it might have minimal impact on the ecosystem.

— Compiled by Ananya Saha

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