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Looks like Facebook has had enough of bitcoin advice spamming its users' newsfeeds. The social media giant announced that it will ban all ads promoting cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and other legitimate services. They said it's to protect users from "financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices."
The company's product management director Rob Leathern continued in the blog post by saying, "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."
Facebook noted that it wouldn't catch every single crypto-related advertisement. However, it did encourage users to report any ads they saw to Facebook. In order to report an ad, simply click on the upper righthand corner and choose the report option.
And the policy will go beyond just Facebook itself. It applies to other Facebook-owned properties and anywhere the company sells ads. This includes Instagram and Audience Network, a third-party system which places ads on various other apps.
This means that iconic and meme-worthy ads like those of "crypto-genius" James Altucher will no longer be seen on a newsfeed.
"This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices," wrote Leathern in the blog post. "We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve."
For the most part, social media users applauded Facebook for monitoring these potentially deceptive and destructive ads.
Misleading ads have no place on Facebook: just launched a new policy to prohibit ads promoting financial products & services frequently associated with misleading/deceptive promotional practices, (e.g. binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency) .. 1/2— Rob Leathern (@robleathern) January 30, 2018
Even those already invested in cryptocurrencies said the decision could be used to their advantage.
Facebook Bans Cryptocurrency Ads...Good! Look how far we made it without Advertising, we don't need those who will discover Crypto over a Facebook ad and think the market "crashes" every other day!— Ripple Man (@KingRippleXRP) January 30, 2018
There was also the excellent point made that if someone is looking to Facebook for financial advice, cryptocurrency trading and ICOs might not be right for them anyway:
Does the Facebook #cryptocurrency ban bother me? Not at all, because if you're getting your financial info from FB, you probably shouldn't be buying ICOs #DYOR— Rhian Lewis (@rhian_is) January 30, 2018
However, given the recent deception within high-profile ICOs and advertising strategies, Facebook has reason to make the change. Most notably, Arisebank -- the decentralized bank -- ran into serious regulation issues when the company claimed it had already raised $600 million in its ICO. The claim caught the attention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission, and the organization alleged that Arisebank was "an outright scam." They made false claims, used celebrity endorsement without consent, and called itself a bank without actually going through the FDIC approval process to become a legitimate bank.
Ultimately, it seems that Facebook is just trying to play it safe -- both on their end and for its users.
The content on Interesting Engineering does not provide any investment advice and is for informational purposes only.