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Harry's impression: Facebook bans cryptocurrency-related ads

February 2018

Facebook announced this month that it is introducing further countermeasures against scams by banning all advertisements promoting cryptocurrency businesses. The move is to prevent ads for fiinancial products and services that are “frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices,” Rob Leathern, a Facebook product management director, wrote in a blog post.

Over recent months cryptocurrency phishing scams have appeared on the social network, such as one fraudulently promoting bitcoin mining rigs and linking unsuspecting customers to a false website where their money is stolen. 

All Facebook advertisements, regardless of whether they are on behalf of legitimate businesses, will be prevented from promoting anything involving cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, initial coin offerings, or binary options.

In addition to banning cryptocurrencyrelated ads on Facebook’s core platform, the company’s other services like Instagram and Audience Network, an ad provider for third-party apps, will also face the same restrictions. “This policy is intentionally broad while we work to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices,” wrote Leathern. “We will revisit this policy and how we enforce it as our signals improve.” 

Facebook’s move comes at a volatile time for crypto markets. The value of Bitcoin has plummeted from its alltime high of US$17,900 per unit on 15 December 2017; but it still commands the highest price per unit compared with any other cryptocurrency, and is currently valued at over US$8,700 each as of 12 February.