By Ryan Velez
Facebook ads are a powerful advertising medium, considering the number of people that use the social network each day. This is why it is a potential bombshell that Facebook has decided to ban all advertising of cryptocurrency and cryptocurrency services, according to The Independent.
According to Facebook, the main reasoning isn’t to try and cut off cryptocurrency at the knees. Instead, the bigger concern is that the rising interest in cryptocurrency is allowing scammers to defraud people looking to invest.
Facebook said it had found a huge number of people using the site to advertise misleading and dangerous offers. It identified a range of different, popular scams, which often use wording like: “Use your retirement funds to buy bitcoin!”
“This policy 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,” Facebook’s blog post read. “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.”
It added that it would now ban ads that are related to cryptocurrency, initial coin offerings, or binary options. Facebook noted that all of those things can be used legitimately – but that a worryingly large amount of ads marketing them were actually just scams.
Mark Zuckerberg has expressed previous interest in using the tech that powers cryptocurrency into Facebook proper. “There are important counter-trends to this – like encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands,” he wrote in a post earlier in the year, in which he promised to fix Facebook. “But they come with the risk of being harder to control. I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services.”
The lack of regulation for cryptocurrency is part of its appeal, but it also makes it more difficult to target those who use it for fraud. Facebook is painting with a large brush here, but there is some decent reasoning as to what they don’t want any ads of that kind up there, at least for now.